News

Second body discovered in drought-hit Lake Mead reservoir week after corpse was found in barrel


A second set of human remains have been discovered at Lake Mead reservoir over the weekend, days after a man’s body was found in a barrel exposed by a drought.

Lindsey and Lynette Melvin reportedly found the skeletal remains at Callville Bay within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada around 2 p.m. Saturday, KTNV reported. 

Photos of the grisly discovery show a skull, complete with teeth, nestled into the dirt and sand near the lake’s shore. Other bones are seen sticking out of the sand at various angles. 

It is not known if the remains were uncovered because of the receding waters.

But police warned that more bodies could turn up after a man’s remains were found in a metal barrel last week that was exposed amid an ongoing drought.

The water level of Lake Mead has dropped so much that a water intake valve which supplies Las Vegas has become visible for the first time since 1971. 

Park rangers responded to the scene on Saturday and recovered the human remains, the National Park Service said in a statement. The Clark County Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death. The investigation is ongoing, officials said. No further details were provided. 

Photos of the grisly discovery show a skull, complete with teeth, nestled into the dirt and sand near the lake’s shore

Lindsey and Lynette Melvin reportedly found the skeletal remains at Callville Bay within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area around 2 p.m. Saturday

Lindsey and Lynette Melvin reportedly found the skeletal remains at Callville Bay within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area around 2 p.m. Saturday

‘At this time homicide is not responding,’ Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Jason Johansson said Saturday night, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. ‘The coroner’s office is handling.’

The grisly discovery comes nearly a week after remains were found in a metal barrel on May 1 on the receding shoreline of the country’s largest reservoir, located on the border of Arizona and Nevada. 

Photos taken by Lindsey and Lynnette Melvin show a close up shot of human teeth found as part of a skull that was discovered on the show of Callville Bay at Lake Mead

Photos taken by Lindsey and Lynnette Melvin show a close up shot of human teeth found as part of a skull that was discovered on the show of Callville Bay at Lake Mead

It is not known if the remains found Saturday were uncovered because of the receding waters, but police warned that more bodies could turn up after a man's remains were found in a metal barrel last week when it was exposed due to the drop in water levels

It is not known if the remains found Saturday were uncovered because of the receding waters, but police warned that more bodies could turn up after a man’s remains were found in a metal barrel last week when it was exposed due to the drop in water levels

More human remains were discovered at Callville Bay (pictured) within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area on Saturday, less than a week after a man's body was found in a barrel

More human remains were discovered at Callville Bay (pictured) within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area on Saturday, less than a week after a man’s body was found in a barrel

The metal barrel discovered last week was spotted because of dropping water levels in the lake, officials said. 

‘The water level has dropped so much over the last 30 to 40 years that, where the person was located, if a person were to drop the barrel in the water and it sinks, you are never going to find it unless the water level drops,’ Homicide Lt. Ray Spencer of the Las Vergas Metropolitan Police said in an interview Monday. 

‘The water level has dropped and made the barrel visible. The barrel did not move….It was not like the barrel washed up.’ 

Lake Mead and Lake Powell upstream are the largest human-made reservoirs in the U.S., part of a system that provides water to more than 40 million people, tribes, agriculture and industry in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming and across the southern border in Mexico.

The skeletal remains of the body were visible through a corroded opening in the rusted metal barrel. The victim's shirt and belt were still clinging to their bones

The skeletal remains of the body were visible through a corroded opening in the rusted metal barrel. The victim’s shirt and belt were still clinging to their bones

The barrel was found embedded in mud along Lake Mead's receding shoreline. Police say that as water levels continue to drop it is likely that more bodies will be exposed

The barrel was found embedded in mud along Lake Mead’s receding shoreline. Police say that as water levels continue to drop it is likely that more bodies will be exposed

The barrel containing the remains was discovered by people strolling along the Lake Mead shore last week. 

Police believe the man was a gunshot from victim and that the killing probably happened between the mid-1970s and the early 1980s because the victim was wearing shoes that were manufactured during that period, Lt. Spencer said. 

The death-by-gunshot announcement bolsters Spencer’s earlier comments to the New York Times that investigators would ‘definitely not rule out’ the possibility that the skeleton in the barrel was the victim of a mob related murder. 

The Las Vegas strip was notoriously dominated by mob-run casinos from the late ’40s through the ’80s.

‘It’s really odd in the sense that had the lake never receded, we would never have discovered the body,’ Lt. Spencer said.

The beach where the barrel was found was roped off by park rangers after it was discovered by park-goers on May 1

The beach where the barrel was found was roped off by park rangers after it was discovered by park-goers on May 1

Taken in March 2022, this image shows the reservoir, the largest in the US, down to very low level - with just 30 per cent capacity

Taken in March 2022, this image shows the reservoir, the largest in the US, down to very low level – with just 30 per cent capacity

The rusted barrel embedded the in mud was found along the shoreline by passersby, and when they peered into a corroded opening they discovered the skeletal corpse. 

‘We were docking our boat to go home and heard a woman scream,’ Shawna Hollister, who witnessed the discovery, told KLAS-TV, ‘My husband walked over and found the body. His shirt and belt were the only thing we could see over his decomposing bones.’

Spencer said that investigators have already set to work identifying the victim, and will be combing through missing persons cases from the 1970s and ’80s, but that the process could take years as they are starting ‘at square one.’

‘In the 1980s, we did not have any of the DNA databases, so there was no DNA collection,’ Spencer said, adding that if DNA is able to be extracted from the bones the genealogy work required to identify the victim will be extensive.

If the drought persists and the lake waters continue to recede, Spencer said it is not unlikely that more bodies will be exposed. 

The water level in Lake Mead have reached their lowest heights since 1971. The reservoir's water provides drinking water and and electricity for 40million people

The water level in Lake Mead have reached their lowest heights since 1971. The reservoir’s water provides drinking water and and electricity for 40million people 

Many of the problems facing Lake Mead come from the ongoing drought in the region, that has caused the Colorado River basin to become extremely low

Many of the problems facing Lake Mead come from the ongoing drought in the region, that has caused the Colorado River basin to become extremely low

 ‘I would say that as the water level drops there is a very good chance that we are going to find additional human remains,’ he told KLAS.

Water levels in Lake Mead – the largest reservoir in the US, which is formed by the Hoover Dam River and sits about 24 miles from Las Vegas – have reached their lowest level since 1971.

Levels have been declining for the past few years, as a result of the ongoing megadrought in the southwestern US, as well as increasing demand for water.

The water line in the reservoir now sits at 1,055ft above sea level, well below the maximum capacity of 1,229 ft, and worryingly close to the 1,050ft limit for pumping water out to 40 million people. 

The record low water levels are a result of the worst drought in centuries, with human-caused climate change making it 72 per cent worse, studies have shown.

With weather patterns expected to worsen, experts say the reservoir may never be full again.



Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button