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Decomposed body found in barrel on shore of drying Lake Mead in Nevada

Alerted by boaters, Nevada police officers discovered human remains hidden in a barrel sunk to the bottom of Lake Mead. Due to the severe drought affecting the state of Nevada, Lake Mead has significantly reduced in volume. The falling water level has revealed never-before-seen parts of the bottom and objects on it. Last weekend, one
Published: May 6, 2022 - 09:00
Updated: July 23, 2023 - 00:40
Decomposed body found in barrel on shore of drying Lake Mead in Nevada

Alerted by boaters, Nevada police officers discovered human remains hidden in a barrel sunk to the bottom of Lake Mead.

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Due to the severe drought affecting the state of Nevada, Lake Mead has significantly reduced in volume. The falling water level has revealed never-before-seen parts of the bottom and objects on it. Last weekend, one of these items came to the attention of local boaters, who alerted police. Upon arrival, officers found human remains hidden in a barrel that had been lying on the bottom of lake.

human remains hidden in a barrel
Barrel with human remains Photo. Shawna Elizabeth Hollister

I think there is a very good chance that we will find more human remains as the water level continues to drop Las Vegas police Lieutenant Ray Spencer said on Monday.

Human remains hidden in barrel at bottom of Lake Mead

Initially, police officers reported that personal items found with the corpse indicated that the person had died in the 80s. However, subsequent examination revealed that the remains, sunk in a barrel, may have been resting at the bottom of the lake since the mid 70s.

Although police declined to comment on the cause of death and details of the items found, some media reported that the person whose remains were recovered had been shot.

Police have enlisted the help of experts from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to analyze when the barrel began to erode. The Clark County Coroner’s Office will try to establish the identity of the person who was found. Therefore, a DNA sample will have to be obtained for this purpose, which can be problematic and very time consuming.

5,000 USD prize for divers

Two retired Las Vegas police officers have offered a reward for divers who find more barrels containing human remains. David Kohlmeier and Daniel Minor host The Problem Solver Show, which airs on local cable television. The two men have announced that they will pay a $5,000 reward to divers who find more barrels containing corpses.

We want to enable the families of the victims to close this painful chapter of their lives and support the work of law enforcement agencies they wrote in an official statement.

No doubt officers are hoping for a breakthrough in the ongoing investigation. All because since the discovery of the barrel with human remains last Sunday, they have received many clues and informations. A Las Vegas police spokesman did not give an exact number, but said there were dozens.

Lake Mead is an artificial reservoirwhich was created on the border of the states of Nevada and Arizona in the 1930s. The creation of the reservoir was directly related to the damming of the Colorado River and the construction of the Hoover Dam in 1931-36. The lake has an area of about 640 km², a length of about 180 km and holds about 35 km³, making it the largest lake in the USA in terms of water volume.

Photo by Shawna Elizabeth Hollister


Undoubtedly, “Cognitive errors” is another very interesting and important text by Andrzej Górnicki on safety in diving. You will find it in the 19th issue of our the DIVERS24 quarterly magazine! The digital version of the magazine is available free of charge, while the printed version you can purchase in our online shop.

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About author

Marcin Pawełczyk
Marcin’s journey with diving has been an adventure. Starting as a recreational diver, he soon found himself drawn to the fascinating stories and mysteries of Baltic wrecks. After gaining experience, Marcin decided to go beyond just leisurely exploration and took his training up a notch by completing the TMX course, allowing him to explore even deeper and uncover the secrets of inaccessible places. His next challenge has been cave diving, where he is honing his skills to become a certified diver. Not content to simply take in the breathtaking beauty of underwater life, Marcin has also embraced underwater photography since 2018, capturing stunning shots that bring these worlds alive for those who are unable to experience them first-hand. Marcin’s passion for the underwater has taken him far and is sure to continue doing so as he dives into new depths and captures breathtaking images.
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