UPDATE, August 8, 2022, 11:25 a.m. ET: A fourth set of human remains have been discovered in Lake Mead. Investigators were called to swim beach on Saturday, Aug. 6, at around 11:15 a.m. The person's cause of death, as well as missing persons records, are now being investigated.
PREVIOUSLY, July 26, 2022, 3:17 p.m. ET: Much of the western U.S. is suffering from an ongoing drought, especially residents of Arizona, Nevada, and California. For years, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, which are both supplied with Colorado River water, have been dropping to dangerously low levels. In fact, Lake Mead is at its lowest since it was filled in the 1930s.
But a serious lack of water isn't the only shocking thing to come from the drought — over the last few months, several dead bodies have been discovered in Lake Mead.
Lake Mead reportedly hasn't been "full" since 2000 — in July 2022, its levels measured at 174 feet below what's constituted as its full capacity. And with water levels still dropping, authorities believe they will likely uncover more bodies.
“The lake has drained dramatically over the last 15 years,” Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Homicide Lt. Ray Spencer stated, as per CNN. “It’s likely that we will find additional bodies that have been dumped in Lake Mead” as the water level drops more.
There are many theories as to why dead bodies are just now starting to show up — but between the reservoir's plunging water levels, and its close proximity to Las Vegas, Travis Heggie, a former public risk management specialist for the U.S. National Park Service, isn't particularly surprised.
“The criminal element of Las Vegas simply spills over into Lake Mead,” Heggie told The New York Times. “...there’s going to be a lot of guns, and a lot of knives.”
What to know about the body found in Lake Mead in July 2022:
Between a plethora of animal remains, an uncovered World War II-era power boat, and now three dead bodies, Lake Mead is looking increasingly more ominous.
On Monday, July 25 around 4:30 p.m. ET, a third set of human remains were discovered along Lake Mead's arid shore. According to CNN, the body was spotted along Swim Beach at Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Boulder City, Nev.
The person's cause of death, age, and identify remain unknown as of publication.
“Park rangers are on scene and have set a perimeter to recover the remains,” reads a National Park Service statement, which was released immediately following the body's discovery on Monday afternoon.
The Clark County medical examiner is currently working alongside members of the FBI to identify the deceased person, according to ABC News.
Local authorities are also conducting ongoing investigations. They are looking into people who have gone missing, and doing what they can to figure out how the person may have died. Needless to say, these are more shocking discoveries for the community surrounding the constantly shrinking reservoir.
Why are so many bodies being discovered in Lake Mead right now?
There are a few reasons why Lake Mead's drought is resulting in the discovery of so many dead bodies — the main one being that water levels are receding so drastically, making it easier to uncover hidden secrets from the last several decades.
Per The New York Times, the first body that was discovered on May 1, 2022 was the result of mob activity in the 70s or 80s, which was common in the Las Vegas area. The person is reported to have died from a gunshot wound, and was discovered in a barrel.
The second body found is reportedly thought to be a woman who went missing in June, according to KION46. The suspected victim, named Lily, supposedly went MIA after falling off a jet ski without a life jacket.
The bodies' origins don't seem to be connected in any way, but it certainly gives insight into the area and its history. Hopefully this will be the last of the remains discovered in the reservoir for a while, though.
This article has been updated.