The parched, fast retreating waters of Nevada’s Lake Mead have exposed the second set of long-lost human remains in less than a week, thanks to the continuing drought in the United States. On May 1, police received reports of a human corpse in a barrel trapped in the muck near the receding waters of Lake Mead, the United States’ biggest reservoir by volume, located immediately east of Las Vegas. On Saturday, May 7, National Park Service rangers responded to another call reporting the discovery of more human remains near the lake’s waters.
The levels of Lake Mead have been declining for decades as a result of rising temperatures attributed to climate change, with the reservoir allegedly only 38 percent full by late April 2021. This year, the waters have become even more reduced, revealing the long-forgotten mysteries that lurk beneath the murky lakebed. The first corpse recovered in the barrel, according to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD), seems to be the victim of a homicide, murdered by a gunshot wound. They believe the person was murdered in the mid-70s or early-80s, based on their attire and shoes, but their name remains unknown.
“My husband heard a lady scream and went to check and found the corpse in much-degraded 50-gallon drums,” Las Vegas homeowner Shawna Hollister told News 3. “He discovered a man who was mainly bones, with only his shirt and belt showing.” The cause of death and identification of the second victim is being investigated by the Clark County Medical Examiner after witnesses, two sisters out paddleboarding, reported discovering human bones on a sandbar at Calville Bay, within Lake Mead’s recreation area.
According to La Vegas authorities, the location where the first victim was discovered was formerly surrounded by dozens of feet of water. According to research published in Nature Climate Change, the southwest US is now facing the greatest drought in 1,200 years. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, LVMPD Lieutenant Ray Spencer stated last week that “the water level has decreased so much over the previous 30 to 40 years that if a person dumps the barrel in the water and it dives, you would never recover it till the water level reduces.”
“The water level has fallen, revealing the barrel.” The barrel remained still… It wasn’t like the barrel had washed ashore on the beach.” Officials predict that if the water level drops more, additional human remains will be uncovered. On Monday, former Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman told AFP, “There’s no knowing what we’ll find in Lake Mead.” “It’s not a horrible spot for a body to be dumped.”