More human remains have been found at Lake Mead near Las Vegas as severe drought conditions cause receding water levels at the largest reservoir in the US.
It’s the fourth time since May that human remains have been uncovered as Western drought forces the shoreline to retreat at the shrinking Colorado River reservoir behind the Hoover Dam.
National Park Service officials said rangers were called to the reservoir between Nevada and Arizona around 11 a.m. Saturday after skeletal remains were discovered at Swim Beach. Rangers and a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police dive team went to retrieve the remains.
The identity of the remains and the cause of death are not currently known.
A first body was discovered on May 1, another on May 7 and a third on July 26. All the remains have yet to be identified.
The newest discovery comes on the heels of a man, Todd Kolod, claiming he believes the second set of remains belongs to his father, according to the Daily Mail.
Kolod, who now lives in Spain, said he believes the set of remains belonged to his father, who drowned at 22 in Callville Bay in 1958, per Daily Mail.
Kolod said his father was on a speed boat with a friend when it hit a wake, knocking both riders into the water. The friend survived while Kolod’s father’s body was never recovered.
Melanie Rouse, Clark County Coroner, believes the remains belong to someone between 23 and 38 years old, although the cause of death remains unclear.
The Daily Wire reported:
The announcement comes after three other human remains have been found over the last few months.
Park services officials announced a group of boaters discovered the first body with a gunshot wound inside a metal barrel stuck in the mud near the lake’s Hemenway Harbor on May 1.
“We were docking our boat to go home and heard a woman scream,” Shawna Hollister, who was at the lake, said. “My husband walked over and found the body. His shirt and belt were the only things we could see over his decomposing bones.”
The man, who authorities dubbed Hemenway Harbor Doe by the coroner’s office, had been shot in the head and had a metal overcoat in the shape of a barrel as it reportedly rested in the lake for years.
The homicide division for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police immediately began conducting an investigation.
“Anytime you have a body in a barrel — clearly there was somebody else involved,” Lieutenant Jason Johannson of the homicide division told CNN.
Detectives on the case believe the victim may have been murdered sometime between the mid-1970s to the early 1980s based on the clothing and footwear found with the body, a local NBC affiliate reports.
Lake Mead has hit its lowest water levels since 1937 and is filled to 27% of capacity, according to NASA.
Las Vegas began pumping for its water supply from deeper in the lake because of how depleted the reservoir became, the Associated Press reported in May.
These droughts — exacerbated by climate change — continue to disrupt the West. The area is dealing with its driest period in at least 1,200 years.
Nevada, Arizona, and California, along with the federal government, reached a $200 million deal to try to keep more water in Lake Mead this year and next, according to Alex Hager from Colorado’s KUNC member station.