On Tuesday, the National Park Service shared a statement revealing that local authorities have found a fifth set of human remains in Lake Mead. Since May, it’s now the fifth discovery as the nation’s largest reservoir continues to reach historically low water levels.
The famous Hoover Dam on the Colorado River helps form Lake Mead, the biggest man-made reservoir in the nation. In recent months, the water levels in the lake have declined to their lowest levels in more than 80 years. Months of droughts in the region have impacted the lake, which sits about 40 miles east of Las Vegas, Nevada. As the water dries up, the landscape around the lake shows a “bathtub ring.” That’s where a white band of mineral deposits is clearly seen, which indicates the previous water levels.
However, evidence of former water levels isn’t the only thing the lake has revealed since the droughts started to impact the reservoir. Now, local authorities are finding uncovered human remains as the water levels drop. In the recent press release, the NPS shared that park rangers responded to a call on Monday night. They located the fifth set of remains at Swim Beach around 8 p.m. on August 15.
“Park rangers have set a perimeter to recover the remains with the support from Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s dive team. The Clark County Medical Examiner has also been contacted. The investigation is ongoing. No further information will be provided at this time,” the NPS’s statement reads.
Previously, authorities shared that they found the third and fourth sets of human remains at Lake Mead specifically at Swim Beach. As of last week, the coroner stated that those two sets could be from the same body. As of now, it is uncertain if the newly found bones and other fragments could be part of the same set of remains as the previous two.
Police Expecting to Find More Remains in Lake Mead as Reservoir Dries Up
Starting out with the first discovery of human remains in a rusted barrel on May 1st, police have had their hands full in recent months. Police analyzed the remains and found them to be from a man who suffered a gunshot wound. Authorities are investigating that case as a homicide, which could date back to the late 1970s because of his clothes.
Only six days later, officials announced a second set of remains discovered in Lake Mead. A man originally from the Las Vegas area now living in Spain came forward about the second body. He thinks it could be his father who drowned in 1958 when his son was only three years old.
A couple months later, authorities reported a third body found on July 25th. Further, earlier this month, officials announced a fourth set of human remains within the receding waters of Lake Mead. As of now, police don’t think any foul play is to blame for the most recent two findings. Instead, they predicted it could be someone who drowned, but officials never recovered their body.
Since the 1930s, about 300 people have drowned in Lake Mead. However, those statistics don’t include bodies that authorities never discovered. There are also concerns over unsolved murder cases dating back decades to when the mob was prevalent in Las Vegas. Lt. Ray Spencer of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police homicide squad shared his opinion on the increase in found human remains.
“The lake has drained dramatically over the last 15 years,” Spencer said, according to the Daily Mail. “It’s likely that we will find additional bodies that have been dumped in Lake Mead.”