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Another – Yep, Another – Dead Body Has Emerged At Drought-Ridden Lake Mead

Climate change is shrinking the lake's waters and revealing dark stories from the past.

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Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

clockAug 9 2022, 11:47 UTC
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A photo of lake mead surrounded by high cliffs that show a distinct line that separates the old water levels with the brown cliffs
Water levels at Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the US, are suffering due to drought. Image credit: S-F/Shutterstock.com

Yet another set of human remains has been found at Lake Mead, making a total of four in just a few months, as the drought-ridden body of water continues to shrink.

The fourth set of skeletal remains was found on the morning of Saturday, August 6, at Swim Beach on Lake Mead in Nevada, according to the National Park Service.

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The remains were recovered with the help of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s dive team and the Clark County Medical Examiner is investigating a cause of death, but few other details have been released.

Since May, an abnormal number of bodies have been discovered around parts of Lake Mead. The first set of human remains was recovered on May 1 after police received reports of a body in a corroding barrel that was stuck in the now visible mud of the lake. 

An investigation revealed that the person was killed by a gunshot wound. Based on their clothing and shoes, they suspect the victim was killed in the mid-1970s or early '80s, but their identity remains uncertain. Speaking to CNN, an official from Las Vegas Metropolitan Police homicide unit said the death was being treated as a homicide 

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On May 7, a second body was found by two sisters who were out paddleboarding on the lake near Calville Bay within Lake Mead's recreation area. The third body, found on July 25, was also located along the shores of Swim Beach where the latest was recovered. 

Lake Mead, found just east of Las Vegas, is the largest reservoir in the US by water capacity. The past few years have seen water levels at the once grand lake shrink to historic lows due to drought and warming temperatures in the area. 

The southwest US is currently experiencing the worst “megadrought” in 1,200 years and this year has been particularly baking. Due to warming temperatures and dry weather linked to the climate crisis, the waters of Lake Mead have been dropping for several decades, reportedly leaving the reservoir just 38 percent full by late April 2021. 

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There has been some pondering over whether the spate of human remains found at the site has any links to organized crime from nearby Las Vegas, which is just a 30-minute drive from Lake Mead. That’s been largely speculative so far, but some have noted that human remains in a barrel sound very much like a method of body disposal used by the mob. 

Whatever the reason behind the unusual number of human bodies being found here, we shouldn’t be surprised to see more revealed as water levels continue to dwindle. 


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