Three human bodies were found in the waters of Lake Mead, local authorities announced last Saturday (6). This is the fourth time remains have been found in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area since May this year. The lake is formed at the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River and runs through the states of Nevada and Arizona.
In the latest incident, rangers received a call Saturday morning about bodies in the Swim Beach area, National Park Service officials said in a statement.
Rangers set up a perimeter on the beach to retrieve the remains with the help of divers from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, according to the Park Service. A coroner was also called to determine the cause of death.
Past cases of bodies in the lake, including a body that was found in a corrosive barrel with a gunshot wound, were in advanced stages of decomposition and therefore difficult to extract DNA, officials said.
“It is unclear how long the last found remains have been in the lake. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Homicide Division is not handling the investigation,” Lt. CNN .
The police department is, however, leading the investigation of a different body, found in the barrel at the port of Hemenway on the lake on May 1. “Whenever you have a body in a barrel, there was clearly someone else involved,” he said.
Since then, Clark County Coroner Melanie Rouse has preliminarily determined the cause and manner of death to be a firearm homicide. The remains, dubbed the Hemenway Harbor Doe by the coroner’s office, belonged to someone who died in the mid-1970s to early 1980s, according to police.
The second body – found May 7 in Calville Bay – is believed to belong to someone who was roughly between 23 and 37 years old, according to Rouse. It is unclear how this person died. The Calville Bay remains are more skeletal than the other two sets, which still have organ tissue available for examination, Rouse said.
The third — found on the lake’s Swim Beach on July 25 — are only partial and are still in the early stages of examination, according to Rouse.
While the grim findings in the rapidly shrinking lake have spawned theories of mob involvement, Johansson said those ideas are “mere speculation” at this point in the investigation.
A spokesperson for the National Park Service told CNN that a possible explanation for the remains could be that they belonged to people who drowned in the lake when water levels used to be high.
At its height in the 1980s, Lake Mead – the largest man-made reservoir in the country – was 1,225 feet above sea level. But as the mega-drought persists, water levels have dropped this year to the lowest level since the reservoir was filled in the 1930s.
Lake Mead was filled to just 27% of capacity on July 18, 2022, according to NASA.
Water levels have dropped so low that, in addition to several bodies, they have exposed a sunken WWII ship, the Park Service announced in early July.
*With information from Nouran Salahieh and Elizabeth Wolfe
Source: CNN Brasil