Body Found in Barrel by Boaters on Lake Mead May Date to the 1980s, Police Say

Lake Mead
Lake Mead.National Park Service

Receding waters in Lake Mead caused by severe drought may unearth other grisly finds, police said.

A body was found in a decomposing barrel by boaters on Lake Mead, where a severe drought and climate change has caused massive water loss.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police and the National Park Service are investigating the grisly discovery made over the weekend by a couple out on the lake, authorities said.

The skeletal remains may date to the 1980s. Las Vegas Metro police homicide Lt. Ray Spencer told KLAS-TV that items found with the body appear to be about 40 years old.

“It’s going to take an extensive amount of work,” to identify the body, Spencer said. Detectives are working with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to identify growth on the barrel and determine when it started eroding.

“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.”

Lake Mead is at its lowest level in history because of an ongoing drought and climate change.

Water levels in the reservoir have dropped more than 150 feet since 2000.

"We don’t have enough water supplies right now to meet normal demand. The water is not there," Metropolitan Water District of Southern California spokesperson Rebecca Kimitch said this week. The agency told about 6 million customers in sprawling Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties to contain outdoor watering to one day a week, effective June 1, or face stiff fines.

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