LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – While working on a story on the discovery of a barrel that contained human remains at Lake Mead, a KLAS news team found a second barrel and alerted police. Boaters discovered the body in the first barrel around 3 p.m. Sunday, May 1. While at the lake Monday, a KLAS team noticed a second barrel several hundred feet away from the site of the first – also onshore.
Police said Tuesday the second barrel was empty. The person found in the first barrel, believed to be a man, is suspected to have been killed in the late-1970s or 1980s, investigators said.
The area is near a boat ramp. Crews have had to extend the ramp a half-mile over the past decades to get it closer to the water. In the 1970s and 1980s, what is now a beach would have been several dozen feet underwater.
A small hole in the second barrel revealed empty space, unlike the first barrel, which showed a person along its entirety.
Lake Mead reportedly was a popular dumping site for murderers, and police said they suspect they will find more barrels with bodies as the lake recedes.
“I would say there is a very good chance as the water level drops that we are going to find additional human remains,” Las Vegas Metro police Lt. Ray Spencer said.
Lake Mead, located in both Nevada and Arizona, 24 miles east of Las Vegas, dropped below 1,056 feet in elevation last Tuesday, less than a week after hitting 1,057 feet the week before. Lake levels are expressed in altitude, not depth. At its highest levels, the lake is near 1,225 feet.
Police said they have received many tips about the person found in the barrel.
Tips can be submitted anonymously through Crime Stoppers by calling 702-385-5555 or at crimestoppersofnv.com/report-a-crime. Information can also be sent via text by sending “CRIMENV” and then your message to “CRIMES” (274637). Crime Stoppers offers a reward for information that leads to an arrest.