Police Find Woman's Body On Ice in Newport Beach Hotel Room

By: GILLIAN FLACCUS AP Writer
By: GILLIAN FLACCUS AP Writer

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) - The body of a woman packed in dry
ice was found in a hotel room when police served a search warrant
in a cocaine investigation, authorities said Friday.

Detectives found the fully clothed and "well preserved" body late Thursday after arresting a guest at the Fairmont Newport Beach for investigation of selling and possessing cocaine on the hotel grounds, police Sgt. Evan Sailor said.

When they searched Stephen David Royds' room, they found the body inside a large Rubbermaid container filled with dry ice, he said.

"It's definitely weird," Sailor said.

An autopsy of the body was "inconclusive" because there was no
sign of trauma and her death did not appear to be a homicide, said
Dan Akin, an Orange County supervising deputy coroner.

Investigators were trying to identify the woman, who appeared to
be in her 20s or 30s, as they awaited results from a blood toxicology test. It wasn't clear how long she had been dead, Sailor said.

Police were also investigating whether Royds was involved in the
death. He was held on $30,000 bail.

Royds, 46, told police he was a resident of Newport Beach, but there was no telephone listing for him.

A receptionist at the hotel, a posh complex surrounded by palms,
referred inquiries to company spokeswoman Michelle Heston.

"We are working alongside and assisting the Newport Beach police in this investigation but right now it's in their hands ... this is a police matter," Heston said in a telephone interview.
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Associated Press Writer Daisy Nguyen in Los Angeles contributed
to this report.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-03-07-08 2056EST


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