As the waters of Lake Mead recede due to drought, a barrel containing a body that may have been at the bottom of the lake for decades has surfaced – and law enforcement experts say it could be the first of many!
Experts say that the body recently found in a barrel could be linked to a murder that goes back as far as the 1980s.
Boaters discovered the body around 3 p.m. Sunday.
Police suspect the person was killed in the 1980s based on personal items in the barrel, Las Vegas Metro police homicide Lt. Ray Spencer said.
He would not elaborate on the person’s cause of death or the items found, citing the ongoing investigation.
A photo shared with local TV station KLAS showed what looked like skeletal remains in the barrel. The barrel looked to have been stuck in the mud for quite some time.
“It’s going to take an extensive amount of work,” Spencer said about identifying the victim, adding that his team was reaching out to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, to examine growth on the barrel and when it may have started to erode.
“It’s going to be a very difficult case,” Spencer said. “I would say there is a very good chance as the water level drops that we are going to find additional human remains.”
The ongoing severe drought is leading to other discoveries in the water. Last week, the top of a water intake pipe was visible above the water’s surface as the lake level continued to drop.
Lake Mead, located in both Nevada and Arizona, is 24 miles east of Las Vegas. The water level in the lake has dropped below 1,056 feet in elevation last Tuesday, less than a week after hitting 1,057 feet the week before. Lake levels are expressed in altitude, not depth. At its highest levels, the lake is near 1,225 feet.
“I think anybody can understand there are probably more bodies that have been dumped in Lake Mead. It’s just a matter of time till we are able to discover and recover those….” Spencer said.
The Clark County Coroner’s Office has been working to identify the remains.