More human skeletal remains were found on Lake Mead’s swimming beach amid falling water levels

More human skeletal remains were discovered Monday night at Lake Mead’s swimming beach, officials said. This was the third time authorities have reported finding remains on the beach amid the lake’s rapidly receding shoreline.

Authorities have recovered human remains from the lake five times so far this year, three of them at Swim Beach. It’s unclear if the three discoveries at Swim Beach are all from one person or from different people. The Clark County coroner has been working to determine if the first two Swim Beach discoveries, both of which were partial remains, were from the same individual, a county spokesman told CNN.

National Park Service rangers responded to Swim Beach around 8 p.m. Monday night and worked with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s dive team to establish a perimeter for recovering the remains, the park service said in a release. The Clark County Medical Examiner was also contacted.

CNN has reached out to Clark County officials for more information and has received no response.

In addition to those found at Swim Beach, two other remains have been discovered at the lake since May, including a body being investigated as a homicide after it was found in a corroding barrel with a gunshot wound, officials said.

The murder victim, whose remains were found May 1, likely died sometime in the mid-1970s to early 1980s, according to Clark County Police and Medical Examiner Melanie Rouse. The victim’s clothing and shoes helped investigators determine the approximate time of death, as some of the clothing was in such good condition that the tags were still visible, police said.

Just a week after the murder victim’s remains were found, a second set was discovered in the lake’s Calville Bay, the park said. Rouse has preliminary determined that these remains belong to a man estimated to be between 23 and 38 years old, she previously told CNN. The cause and manner of his death are unknown, she said.

The coroner’s office is trying to extract DNA from the first two remains to determine who they belong to, Rouse said.

The third group of partial remains was found at Swim Beach on July 25, followed by additional partial remains found in the same area on August 6. It’s unclear if Monday’s third discovery of remains is related to the previous two subgroups.

The remains were uncovered as Lake Mead’s shoreline recedes dramatically due to an ongoing mega-drought in the west. The extreme drought has caused the water level at Lake Mead – the country’s largest water reservoir – to drop to just 27% of its full capacity, threatening vital water supplies for millions of people in the region.

As the water level drops, other visitors have been able to see other things previously submerged in the lake, including a sunken WWII-era ship and the reservoir’s original inlet valve from 1971. More human skeletal remains were found on Lake Mead’s swimming beach amid falling water levels

Laura Coffey

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