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Lake Mead’s Lower Levels of Water Leads to the Discovery of Human Remains

Lake Mead
Courtesy of Andrew (Flickr CC0)

Authorities have said that lower than average water levels at Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States, have contributed to the discovery of four sets of human remains at Swim Beach in Lake Mead National Recreation Area on Saturday. Currently, the dive team of The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is collaborating with the police to investigate the scene. Police in Clark County, Nevada, including Las Vegas, was not immediately available for comment. Human remains have been found in California’s water supply and other states since May, in addition to those found at Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

The Park Service said rangers established a perimeter around the Lake Mead beach to recover the body parts with the help of divers from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. The coroner was there to help determine the cause of death. Water levels at the lake have fallen to historic lows due to an ongoing water shortage in the West, resulting in the discovery of three separate sets of remains.

Officials said that the previous remains discovered, which included a body in a corroding container with a gunshot wound, were in a bad state of decomposition and, therefore, difficult to extract DNA. It’s unknown how long the most recent remains found were in the lake. Lieutenant Jason Johansson told CNN that the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s homicide division is not investigating the case. The police department, however, is leading the investigation into a different body found in the barrel at Hemenway Harbor on May 1. It was immediately treated as a homicide investigation after discovering an apparent gunshot wound.

The second remains discovered at Calville Bay on May 7 are thought to be those of someone who was between 23 and 37 years old, according to Rouse. However, it’s unclear how that person died, as the remains are more skeletal than the others, which still have organ tissue available for study.

Lake Mead
Courtesy of Roadsidepictures (Flickr CC0)Lake

According to Rouse, the remains discovered at the lake’s Swim Beach on July 25 are still being examined at this early phase. Because the lake straddles the border of Nevada and Arizona, it took a while to identify the third set of remains.

Johansson said that the investigation’s mob involvement theories were ‘mere speculation.’ Despite the grim discoveries in the shrinking lake, a spokesman of the National Park Service said that one possible explanation for the remains might be that they belonged to people who had drowned in the lake when water levels were higher. Because of the water’s decline, bodies and the sun have been exposed.

The most prominent artificial reservoir in the country, Lake Mead, once stood at 1,225 feet above sea level. However, because of the ongoing mega-drought, water levels are at the lowest since they filled the reservoir in the 1930s. As of July 18, 2022, NASA indicated that Lake Mead was at 27% capacity.

Written by Janet Grace Ortigas
Edited by Sheena Robertson

CNN: More human remains discovered in Lake Mead’s receding waters; by Nouran Salahieh and Elizabeth Wolfe
Business Standard: Fourth set of human remains found at drought-stricken US’ Lake Mead
Fox News: More human remains discovered at Lake Mead as waters levels drop; by Stephen Sorace

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Andrew‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Roadsidepictures’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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