Police believe the person whose remains were uncovered died in the 1970s or 1980s (Pictures: KSNV)
As a severe drought caused water levels to drop in Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the US, the remains of person who died decades ago were washed to shore, authorities said.
The remains were found Sunday near Las Vegas, Metro police homicide Lt Ray Spencer said. Investigators believe the person whose body was uncovered inside of a corroding barrel was a murder victim who died of a gunshot wound.
Investigators suspect the person was killed in the 1970s or 1980s because of the clothing and shoes found on the body, police said.
‘There is a very good chance as the water level drops that we are going to find additional human remains,’ Spencer said.
When the barrel containing the body was dropped in Lake Mead, the site was likely hundreds of yards from the beach, Spencer told CNN. The area that is now a beach would have been several dozen feet underwater in the 1980s.
The body was discovered by boaters on Sunday afternoon.
‘We heard a woman scream from the side of the beach and then my husband went over to obviously see what was wrong,’ bystander Shawna Hollister told KLAS-TV.
‘And then he realized there was a body there in a barrel.’
Photos taken at the lake show a badly corroded 50-gallon barrel stuck in the wet sand of the beach.
Investigators believe the barrel was fully intact when it became submerged in the lake decades ago.
‘It’s going to take an extensive amount of work,’ Spencer said about identifying the victim. The Clark County coroner’s office is working with the department to try and identify the remains.
The ongoing drought has led to other discoveries in the lake. Last week, the top of a water intake pipe was visible above the water’s surface as the lake level dropped. Water levels at Lake Mead have been steadily receding since the early 2000s, and most recently hit a record level low.
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