CRIME
01/22/2014 04:53 pm ET | Updated Jan 25, 2014

Boaz Johnson Confesses To Killing Girfriend Brittany-Jane Royal In Suicide Note, Police Say

Authorities in Hawaii have claimed that Brittany-Jane Royal's boyfriend confessed to her murder in the pages of a notebook found in a lava field by his hanging body.

"We have concluded the active investigation into the murder [and] have determined she was murdered by Boaz Johnson," Assistant Chief Henry Tavares, of the Hawaii Police Department, told reporters at a Tuesday press conference.

On three handwritten pages of a composition book, Johnson "confessed to strangling Brittany" during a domestic dispute as well as to "throwing her body in the ocean," Tavares said.

The notebook was sent to a forensic document examiner, who police say determined that the pages within it were written by Johnson.

With the discovery of Johnson's corpse -- found in a remote area of Kalapana on Jan. 2 -- the eight-month investigation into Royal's death comes to an abrupt end.

Royal, a 25-year-old native of Tustin, Calif., traveled around the country for about five years before she settled in Hawaii. Johnson, a 22-year-old male from Petersburg, Alaska, moved to the island in January 2013. The couple eventually met and began dating in March of that year.

In April, Royal found out she was pregnant with Johnson's baby. The following month, the couple began making plans to purchase 10 acres of land in Kalapana, so they could start an organic farm.

Outwardly, the couple appeared happy. But on May 28, the day Johnson was to meet with a realtor to finalize the property settlement, a fisherman found Royal's nude body tangled in fishing gear in the waters off Kalapana. An autopsy of Royal's body revealed that she had been strangled.

Early on, DNA and other evidence pointed toward Johnson's involvement in his girlfriend's slaying. When questioned by police, family members reportedly said they had not heard from him since the day before Royal's body was found.

Johnson's family was convinced that he, too, was the victim of foul play, and on May 30, authorities announced that Johnson's family had filed a missing person report with police.

CASE PHOTOS: (Story Continues Below)

Brittany Jane-Royal Slaying

While many questions remained unanswered, authorities secretly presented the case to a grand jury late last year. On Dec. 18, 2013, the grand jury announced their decision to indict Johnson for second-degree murder. At that time, a Circuit Court judge issued a warrant for Johnson's arrest and sealed the indictment -- at the request of police and prosecutors -- to give state and federal law enforcement agencies the opportunity to locate and arrest Johnson.

That arrest never happened.

A body found hanging from a tree on Jan. 2 was identified as Johnson.

According to Tavares, DNA and dental records were used to make the positive identification.

"An autopsy on Johnson's body revealed that the cause of death was asphyxia due to hanging, and the manner of death was suicide," said the assistant chief.

Authorities believe Johnson took his own life not long after Royal's slaying.

In the end, the tragedy of Royal's death proved to be equally tragic for Johnson's family.

Johnson's sister, Hannah Pogemiller, did not immediately reply to a request for comment from HuffPost on Wednesday.

Brittany-Jane Royal's grandfather, Jerry Spahn, was also at Tuesday's press conference. In addressing the media, he read aloud a message to Royal from her mother, Julie. The message read, in part:

"Brittany, fly, my little bird. Be free ... soar like a hawk. Gone, but never forgotten."

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