Las Vegas Police: Body Found in Nevada’s Lake Mead Has Likely Been There for Decades
© AP Photo / John LocherA buoy rests on the ground at a closed boat ramp on Lake Mead at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Friday, Aug. 13, 2021, near Boulder City, Nev. Water levels at Lake Mead, the largest reservoir on the Colorado River, have fallen to record lows.
© AP Photo / John Locher
Lake Mead sits about 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, Nevada. The man-made reservoir provides water and electricity to Nevada, Arizona, California and Mexico. In late 2021, the three states and the US federal government agreed to a $200 million deal to respond to a water shortage crisis.
Nevada’s Las Vegas police believe the body found inside a barrel in Lake Mead dates back between the mid-1970s to early 1980s and appears to have suffered a gunshot wound.
On Sunday, boaters who were enjoying the sun at Lake Mead called the authorities after finding human remains in what appears to be a 50 gallon barrel. The discovery was only possible because of Lake Mead’s plummeting water levels, which were prompted by an ongoing drought. The lake, along with the upstream Lake Powell, collectively make up the largest man-made water reservoirs in the US.
The Clark County coroner’s office is still trying to identify the corpse, a process they say may take months if it is possible at all. While internet commentators immediately started to make the logical leap to Jimmy Hoffa, the former Teamsters boss who disappeared in 1975, that speculation was quickly dashed when police initially said the death likely occurred in the 1980s.
© AP Photo / UncreditedFILE - This photo shows Teamsters Union president Jimmy Hoffa in Washington on July 26, 1959. The FBI's recent confirmation that it was looking at a spot near a New Jersey landfill as the possible burial site of former Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa is the latest development in a search that began when he disappeared in 1975.
FILE - This photo shows Teamsters Union president Jimmy Hoffa in Washington on July 26, 1959. The FBI's recent confirmation that it was looking at a spot near a New Jersey landfill as the possible burial site of former Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa is the latest development in a search that began when he disappeared in 1975.
© AP Photo / Uncredited
After police determined that the shoes the man was wearing were manufactured in the middle to late 70s, they moved the timeline back to include the mid-1970s, making a Hoffa connection technically possible.
Still, it is highly unlikely that there is any connection to the disappearance of Hoffa. There are more than 17,000 open missing person cases in the US, and that does not include the hundreds of thousands more where the missing person is presumed dead, as is the case with Hoffa.
Additionally, Lake Mead is a 30-hour car ride from Bloomfield Township in Michigan, Hoffa’s last known whereabouts. It’s anticipated the Hoffa link will not be completely settled at least until the coroner’s office determines the man’s identity, or at least confirms that it is not Hoffa.
Lake Mead has dropped from 1,080 feet to 1,055 feet in only a year. As the lake provides water for more than 40 million people in Nevada, Arizona, California and Mexico, not to mention the lake’s agricultural uses, its rapid decline is concerning for authorities.
If the decline continues, police told Fox5 Las Vegas that it is possible they will find more bodies in the future.