Stephen David Royds, the high-living drug dealer who kept his girlfriend’s corpse frozen in a 2-by-3-foot plastic bin at the Fairmont Newport Beach hotel for as long as a year, pleaded guilty Monday to drug charges and was sentenced to four years in prison.
Royds’ plea at the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach closes the criminal case against him and leaves unresolved -- perhaps forever -- the question of why Monique Felicia Trepp, 33, a former stripper and waitress, was stashed in dry ice in the posh hotel room she shared with Royds.
Police investigated Royds after an informant reported buying cocaine from him at a Newport Beach bar called the Classic Q. During a search in March of Room 966 at the hotel where Royds lived, investigators said they found Trepp’s body, described as “moderately decomposed,” in a plastic container. An autopsy report showed that Trepp had died from an overdose of cocaine and alcohol. There was no evidence of trauma.
Authorities said she showed no sign of defensive injuries and might have been dead for a year, and Royds was not a suspect in her death.
Police arrested Royds on suspicion of possession and sale of cocaine.
A 47-year-old New Zealand native, Royds was reportedly a champion-caliber skier who moved to the United States about 20 years ago to pursue the sport and eventually turned to dealing cocaine, authorities said.