Police expect more bodies after receding waters at Lake Mead reveal skeleton in barrel
Police said this victim was likely killed in the 70s or 80s, when the water levels were much higher
By Christian Martinez
Los Angeles Times
Human remains revealed this week by sinking water levels in Lake Mead are likely of a gunshot victim, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police said Tuesday.
The skeletal remains were found Sunday in a barrel partially buried in mud at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
"We believe this is a homicide as a result of a gunshot wound," Lt. Ray Spencer said Tuesday in a release.
"Detectives believe the victim was killed sometime in the mid-'70s to early '80s, based on clothing and footwear the victim was found with," the release said.
Forensic experts were attempting to identify the victim, and the department said Tuesday that no additional interviews or information would be provided.
On Monday, Spencer told KLAS-TV in Las Vegas that identifying the body would "take an extensive amount of work," although the "body was fully intact."
Lake Mead provides water for 25 million people and millions of acres of farmland in several states in the Southwest, including California.
The receding waters at Lake Mead, the country’s largest artificial reservoir, have dropped to historic lows. The levels are so shallow that a barrel containing skeletal remains was found Sunday immersed in mud, reports KLAS-TV in Las Vegas.https://t.co/G0yWjVkvpe pic.twitter.com/PWKXzMpezg— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) May 3, 2022
LVMPD says they believe a body was found at Lake Mead today. I obtained photos of what appears to be decomposing human remains in a large barrel. Looks as though the receding shoreline revealed the barrel. Details are minimal and the identity will be released by coroner pic.twitter.com/auNcx4kJTN— Brett Forrest (@brettforrest89) May 2, 2022
During the period when the victim is believed to have died, Lake Mead was hundreds of feet deeper than it is now. In the decades since, the lake has been depleted by rising temperatures and smaller snowpacks.
"Since 2000, snowfall and runoff into the basin have been well below normal. These conditions have resulted in significant water level declines at major system reservoirs, including Lake Mead and Lake Powell," the Southern Nevada Water Authority said on its website.
Spender said the lake shrinks by a foot or two every year.
NEW: Two retired police officers in Las Vegas are offering a reward for those who find bodies at Lake Mead after human remains were found in a barrel at the lake last weekend.— FOX5 Las Vegas (@FOX5Vegas) May 5, 2022
DETAILS: https://t.co/DU9Z7dICg2 pic.twitter.com/HH0ymPk1dD
"I would say there is a very good chance as the water level drops that we are going to find additional human remains," Spencer told KLAS.
Homicide victims are recovered from the lake fairly often, officials told the Los Angeles Times on Monday.
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