A barrel containing a body was discovered over the weekend in Nevada’s Lake Mead as a historic drought depletes one of the largest U.S. reservoirs. Las Vegas Metro Police fear this may be the first of many more gruesome finds.
National Park Service rangers were called out after boaters spotted the barrel Sunday afternoon. Rangers near the lake’s Hemenway Harbor found the barrel containing skeletal remains. The levels are so shallow that a barrel containing the skeletal remains submerged in mud became visible.
Authorities reported that personal items found inside the barrel indicate the victim died more than 40 years ago in the 1980s.
The cause of death nor a description of the items found were not revealed.
Investigators will ask experts at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to help with the analysis as to when the barrel started to erode. The Clark County coroner’s office will work to determine the person’s identity.
Lake Mead and Lake Powell are the largest human-made reservoirs in the U.S., a system that provides water to more than 40 million people, in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming and across the southern border in Mexico.