Authorities Find More Human Remains in Receding Waters of Lake Mead

The authorities at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Las Vegas have found other human remains in addition to those earlier found in May. Given the fast receding water levels, park rangers were on Saturday alerted to human skeletons found at the Swim Beach area – the fourth time officials would discover human remains in four months.

Park Service rangers and divers from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department scoured the area to get to the human remains. A coroner was also summoned to determine the cause of the individual’s death.

On May 1, a body with a gunshot wound was found inside a corroding barrel at the Hemenway Harbor side of the lake, and police believe it was a homicide case. Lt. Jason Johansson noted that “anytime you have a body in a barrel, clearly there was somebody else involved.” Clark County Coroner Melanie Rouse noted that the individual may have been killed 50-40 years ago and then dumped in the area.

Then on May 7, authorities also found another human remains at Calville Bay, with Rouse saying the individual should be between 23-37 years of age. The body still has organ tissue that can be examined to determine the cause of death. The third body discovery was at Swim Beach on July 25 and Rouse said it can still be tested for the cause of death.

Authorities believe more bodies can still be discovered as the water recedes in the ongoing drought that has reduced the lake’s surface level by more than 170 feet (52 meters) since 1983 when the lake was fullest. Scientists blame climate change and rise levels of carbon dioxide as well as greenhouse gases for the drought experienced in the US West over the past three decades.

While some people believe the dead bodies found may have been those of people killed by the mob in decades past, Johansson said that theory is mere speculation. Others said it may have been of missing persons who drowned at the lake when the water level was very high, but Johansson said the police will investigate the circumstances of the person’s deaths.

Located between Nevada and Arizona, Lake Mead measured 1,225 feet above sea level in the 1980s – it is the largest man-made reservoir in the United States – created in the 1930s. With prolonged droughts, the lake came down to 27% of its capacity in July 2022, giving scientists concern that it will dry further in the months to come – and now the discovery of human remains in it. In early July, a sunken World War II ship was discovered at the bottom of the lake.