Sunday | April 26, 2015
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‘Dateline NBC’ website features Kalapana murder

The case of a 25-year-old California woman whose body was found May 28 off the Kalapana shoreline and the missing boyfriend who police believe may have killed her is garnering national media attention.

On Monday, the television news magazine “Dateline NBC” posted “The Mystery of Bo and Brittany” — referring to Boaz “Bo” Johnson, the missing 22-year-old Alaska man who police have said is a suspect in the strangulation death of his girlfriend, Brittany-Jane Royal — on its “Inside Dateline” website.

Video from an interview conducted with Royal’s mother, Julie Royal, accompanies the online story. Julie Royal, a recruiter for a Southern California law firm, told Stephens Media Hawaii on Wednesday that the news magazine is investigating, but is unlikely to televise a segment on the murder of Royal and disappearance, and possible murder, of Johnson until the mystery is solved.

“I’m going to be talking to the producer (Susan Leibowitz) and (“Dateline NBC” correspondent) Josh Mankiewicz. My understanding is that the next step is that the producer will be going out and interviewing people in Hawaii,” she said, later adding “Dateline NBC” became aware of her daughter’s slaying because NBC’s Southern California affiliates had the story.

Royal told “Dateline” she believes “Bo holds the key to the case.”

“If somebody killed both of them, I believe that he’ll never be found,” she said. “I told them if he did kill her, then somebody knows where he is. I can’t believe that nobody knows where he is.”

Johnson’s family has told Stephens Media Hawaii they don’t believe their son killed Brittany, who was pregnant with the couple’s child when she died. Johnson’s sister, Sarah Johnson, told NBC the family wants to find him, also, and believe he might also be a homicide victim. An attempt to contact Sarah for this story was unsuccessful.

Royal said that her ex-husband, Ted Royal, talked to Hawaii County Prosecutor Mitch Roth this week.

“Our update is that we really don’t know anything more,” she said. “I know there were subpoenas for all sorts of things; what those things are, we don’t really know.”

Police last month stated that Johnson is a suspect in the murder. Police Lt. Greg Esteban of the Hilo Criminal Investigations Section said then that there “is evidence that leads to him,” but both he and Capt. Robert Wagner declined to say exactly what that evidence is.

Anyone with information on Johnson’s whereabouts is asked to contact Detective Robert Almeida at 961-2386 or ralmeida@co.hawaii.hi.us, Detective Fetuutuunai Amuimuia at 961-2278 or famuimuia@co.hawaii.hi.us, or Esteban at 961-2252 or gesteban@hawaiicounty.gov. Those who prefer anonymity may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 or 329-8181.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.