A body was recently found inside of a barrel on the shore of Lake Mead, near Las Vegas. Police believe the victim was placed in the barrel between the late 1970s and early 1980s, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

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Who is the victim? The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that the male victim is currently unidentified, but police believe the cause of death was due to a gunshot wound.

  • The police theorize that the man was placed in the barrel during the late 1970s to early 1980s based on clothing and other personal items found in the barrel.
  • The victim was wearing shoes that were sold at Kmart during the middle and late 1970s, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
  • Police will work with the University of Las Vegas to identify the victim and to determine whether the corrosion of the barrel is consistent with being in freshwater for decades, CNN reports.

Drought conditions lead to discovery: The barrel, which is now on the beach of Lake Mead, would have been located dozens of feet underwater in the 1980s.

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  • The discovery of this body was only possible due to drought conditions that have caused the lake levels to drop, reported News Now Las Vegas.
  • “It’s really odd in the sense that had the lake never receded, we would never have discovered the body,” Lt. Ray Spencer of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department told The New York Times.
  • The barrel was discovered by boaters around 3 p.m. on Sunday. “We heard a woman scream from the side of the beach and then my husband went over to obviously see what was wrong,” Shawna Hollister told News Now Las Vegas. “And then he realized there was a body in the barrel.”

Possible mafia-related homicide: Investigators are going to look into the death as a possible Mafia-related killing, police told The New York Times.

  • “Since the victim was killed in the 1980s in an area near Las Vegas, where mob-connected casinos dominated the Strip, investigators will ‘definitely not rule out’ that the killing may have been Mafia-related,” per The New York Times.

Are there other bodies in the lake? “The drop in the lake’s water level could result in other bodies being found at the lake,” Spencer told The New York Times. Las Vegas Police locate one or two bodies in Lake Mead a year, so it is not an unlikely site for a homicide.