More human remains were found at drought-stricken Lake Mead in Nevada – just days after boaters discovered a decomposing body in a barrel, authorities said.
Rangers with the National Park Service got a call Saturday afternoon when a visitor reported finding human skeletal remains at Callville Bay in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
The responding rangers then set up a perimeter to recover the remains. The Clark County Medical Examiner will determine the victim’s cause of death, the National Park Service said in a statement.
“The investigation is ongoing,” NPS officials said. “No further information is available at this time.”
The frightening find was made by two paddleboarders at the largest reservoir in the US. The pair first saw what they believed to be a rock, but realized it consisted of bones upon further inspection, KLAS reported.
There were no immediate signs of foul play, sources close to the matter told the station. The remains were discovered six days after another visitor near Hemenway Harbor found a body in a barrel believed to be of a murder victim who could have been killed in the mid-1970s or 80s.
The barrel, which was stuck in mud at the lake’s receding shorelines, was exposed due to low water levels amid an ongoing drought. The massive, 85-year-old reservoir formed by the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River provides water for some 25 million people, as well as for millions of acres of farmland in California, Nevada, Arizona and Mexico, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Las Vegas police said they feared finding more human remains as the lake continues to be plagued by historically low levels due to rising temps and drought.
“I would say there is a very good chance as the water level drops that we are going to find additional human remains,” Las Vegas police Lt. Ray Spencer told KLAS last week.
Investigators believe the barrel was fully intact when it was dropped into the lake, which would have been several dozen feet deep at that location decades earlier, investigators told the station.
“I think anybody can understand there are probably more bodies that have been dumped in Lake Mead,” Spencer said. “It’s just a matter of, are we able to recover those?”
The lake’s water level as of Monday was 1,052 above sea level, online data shows. That’s the lowest level on record since the reservoir was filed in the 1930s, CNN reported. Lake Mead was last considered full in 2000.