Lake Mead, the largest man-made reservoir in the United States, was formed by the creation of the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River. It supplies water to 40 million Americans, places that would probably be uninhabitable if not for the wonders of the Colorado River and the gift that is the Hoover Dam. The western shore of this Lake is less than 40 miles from the Las Vegas Strip.
But Lake Mead is drying up, partly due to the effects of climate warming and the unbroken drought that started in the year 2000. In late April, Yahoo News reported that Lake Mead had dropped to 30% of its capacity, measuring 244 feet below its maximum elevation.The relentlessly falling level of water in the Lake is not only putting the welfare of these Western locations in jeopardy, but also yielding an unforeseen consequence: it’s revealing the presence of previously unsuspected bodies.
“On May 1, boaters found a barrel containing the body of a homicide victim in Lake Mead,” People magazine reported. “Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department detectives believe the victim was killed some time in the mid-1970s to early ’80s, based on the clothing and footwear the victim was found with.” According to Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department homicide Lt. Ray Spencer, the barrel would have been roughly 100 feet underwater and several hundred yards from shore when it was buried 40 years ago.
There’s more, according to KLAS, a local television news outlet, on Saturday, two paddleboarders found some human bones in Lake Mead’s Callville Bay. National Park Service rangers retrieved the skeletal remains, and the Clark County medical examiner will determine the cause of death. Is this the end of the new discoveries? Probably not. Former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman told the AP, “There’s no telling what we’ll find in Lake Mead…It’s not a bad place to dump a body”, and with the notorious activity of the Mafia in the nearby Las Vegas that lasted for decades, there are bound to be many more secrets to come to the surface.