Saturday | July 30, 2016
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Body found in Kalapana

A hiker discovered a decomposing body Thursday in a forested area in Kalapana.

Police said Friday the body had been recovered but was too decomposed to immediately identify.

It’s gender also was unclear due to the level of decomposition, said Assistant Chief Henry Tavares.

An autopsy is planned to determine the cause of death.

The hiker, an unidentified 34-year-old man, found the body in a “forested area of a lava field at the end of Highway 130,” police said.

A Kalapana resident who requested to remain anonymous said the body was found hanging in a tree.

Tavares said he couldn’t confirm or deny that statement.

“We’re not confirming anything at this point,” he added.

Tavares referred to the location as two miles mauka of where Brittany Jane Royal was camping with her boyfriend when she was murdered. Fishermen found her body May 28 in the waters off Kalapana.

Her boyfriend, Boaz David Johnson, has been missing since and is considered a suspect.

Police said they are not speculating on whether the body could be Boaz Johnson.

Detective Todd Pataray said the body is being referred to as a “John Doe.”

“John Doe doesn’t mean male or female,” he said.

Tavares said it could be at least two weeks before an identification is made.

Pataray said steps to identify a body could involve dental records and contacting potential next of kin.

Tom Johnson, Boaz Johnson’s father, said Friday he was not aware of the discovery and had not been contacted by police.

He said he has not spoken with his son since May.

Tom Johnson said he is still “holding onto hope” that his son is alive.

“I hope it isn’t him,” he said. “It doesn’t sound very good.”

The body is being held at the Hilo Medical Center morgue, police said.

Police are asking anyone with information on the body to contact Pataray at 961-2382 or

Anonymous tipsters can also call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona.

Email Tom Callis at


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