Yet another body has been unveiled by the shrinking drought-stricken Lake Mead, bringing the total to at least six skeletal remains as the nation’s largest reservoir continues to dwindle.
This time, as reported by CNN, a diver, who is a private business operator at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, found a human bone in the Callville Bay area of Lake Mead on Oct. 17. The next day, a park dive team found additional skeletal remains, although it remains unclear if those belong to the same person.
What it means: It appears over the years the reservoir has become the dumping ground for bodies, perhaps even victims of mob violence.
In May, a body was found in a barrel with clothing from the 1970s or ’80s. A few days later, another body was found.
The shrinking lake has also revealed a World War II era landing craft and volcanic ash from 12 million years ago. The University of Nevada at Las Vegas is studying the ash to determine how often the Las Vegas area was inundated with ash over time, and may help prepare for future events from active volcanoes from far away since the dust can travel for hundreds of miles.
More discoveries to be found: Officials believe Lake Mead has much, much more to reveal.
Steve Schafer, a local resident and the owner of environmental services company Earth Resource Group, which is working to uncover the bodies, believes there will be many more bodies, according to an article in Newsweek.
While some bodies may be legitimate drowning victims, he said some may be the victims of nefarious crimes. Officials say the body in the barrel was the victim of a gunshot wound, and the local coroner is working to determine the cause of death on the other remains.
One body has been identified as Thomas Erndt, who drowned 20 years ago in the reservoir, according to ABC News.
Lake Mead sits at roughly an elevation of 1,046 feet. It continues to diminish and is about 27% full.
Lake Powell is faring no better, sitting at 24% full because of a shrinking Colorado River hammered by historic drought.
Earlier this year, in an historic first, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation cut releases by a half million acre-feet from Lake Powell to the lower basin states of Arizona and Nevada, as well as Mexico.
The agency also reduced the amount of Colorado River water Nevada, Arizona and Mexico receive.