Police: Missing Alaska man now suspect in Big Island murder

Photo courtesy: Brittany Royal's family
Photo courtesy: Brittany Royal's family

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More than a month after the murder of a woman on the Big Island, police think they know who did it. It’s the man they’ve been looking for ever since the death of 25-year-old Brittany Jane Royal.

Boaz Johnson, 22, hasn’t contacted his family or anyone since May 27, the day before Royal was found dead in waters off Kalapana.

Big Island Police say Johnson and Royal were boyfriend and girlfriend and had been camping together just before she died.

An autopsy revealed she was strangled.

Initially, Johnson was just wanted for questioning in her death, Wednesday police said he’s considered a suspect.

They believe he may still be on the Big Island and say he is considered dangerous.

Royal’s mother is shocked that Johnson is a suspect.

She says Royal was about three months pregnant with Johnson’s child.

“Am I pleased that it was him? Absolutely not. Or that they’re considering him a suspect absolutely not. I mean he stayed in my house for five days he was the father of her child,” the victim’s mother Julie Spahn Royal said.

Johnson’s family has a hard time believing he could have committed murder and worries that he may have met foul play too.

“Our family stands behind Bo 100 percent. We stand behind his innocence 100 percent. Just like we have from the beginning. I pray every day that he didn’t suffer the same fate as Brittany,” Johnson’s younger sister Sarah Johnson said.

Johnson is described as about 5’7″, 150 pounds.

He has a tattoo of a horse near the right side of his stomach.

Police are not saying much about the new information that has led to Johnson being declared a suspect. They say early information has been verified that leads them to believe he is still alive.

Anyone with information on Johnson’s whereabouts is asked to contact Detective Robert Almeida at 808-961-2386 or ralmeida@co.hawaii.hi.us, Detective Fetuutuunai Amuimuia at 808-961-2278 or famuimuia@co.hawaii.hi.us, or Lieutenant Gregory Esteban at 808-961-2252 or gesteban@hawaiicounty.gov.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

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