A metal barrel containing the remains of a person killed in the 1980s was found on the shore of Lake Mead in Nevada on Sunday; It’s a discovery that the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department says was made possible thanks to an ongoing drought.
“It’s really strange that the lake was never retracted in the sense that we never found the body,” Lieutenant Ray Spencer of the Police Department said by phone on Monday.
Lieutenant Spencer said the police were trying to find out the victim’s identity. He declined to share details about the victim, including a possible age, gender or specific cause of death. It is clear that the person “died by murder,” he said, but did not share how this was determined.
Lieutenant Spencer said, based on items found inside the barrel, investigators believe the victim was killed in the 1980s. He refused to say what those items were.
Lieutenant Spencer said the drop in the lake’s water level could result in other bodies being found in the lake. Rangers from the National Park Service find one or two bodies in Lake Mead each year, he said, “so it’s not uncommon to commit murder in the lake.”
Lieutenant Spencer said experts at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas will help identify the remains and determine the age of the barrel metal.
Lieutenant Spencer said that since the victim was killed in the 1980s in an area near Las Vegas where gang-related casinos dominate the Strip, investigators “absolutely wouldn’t rule out” that the murder could be mob-related.
We will evaluate this potential possibility,” he said.
The barrel was discovered around 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon by people walking along the shoreline of Lake Mead, America’s largest man-made reservoir, located about 40 miles east of Las Vegas and created by the construction of the Hoover Dam.
Lieutenant Spencer said they saw the beige outer shell of a rusted, rusted barrel buried in mud. As the sun was shining on the nearby boatmen swimming in the water, they looked inward and discovered a skeleton.
“We were docking on our boat to get home and we heard a woman screaming,” said Shawna Hollister, who witnessed the discovery. KLAS-TV in Las Vegas. “My husband walked by and found the body. All we could see on his rotting bones was his shirt and belt.”
Photos of the barrel obtained by KLAS-TV Show it on its side, close to the receding shoreline, with a boat floating in the background.
Lieutenant Spencer said witnesses called the National Park Service and confirmed that the contents inside were actually human remains. The National Park Service then called the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, which was conducting the investigation.
Lieutenant Spencer added that investigators also planned to scan missing persons cases in the 1980s to look for clues.
Lieutenant Spencer said the investigation could take years as police start from “first point”.
“We didn’t have any of the DNA databases in the 1980s, so there was no DNA collection,” he said.
Lieutenant Spencer said that if researchers were to obtain DNA samples from the remains, extensive genealogy work would be required to identify the person.
Since 2000, the height of Lake Mead has dropped by about 150 feet due to “drought and climate change”. Southern Nevada Water Authority.
Recent conditions have resulted in more significant drops in water level. On Sunday, the Southern Nevada Water Authority issued mandatory summer water restrictions.
In August, the federal government for the first time declared water scarcity In Lake Mead, interruptions in the water supply for the region are triggered.