More human remains found as drought dries Lake Mead

A boat cruises by mineral-stained rocks in The Narrows upstream of the Hoover Dam on July 28, 2022 in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

A fourth set of human remains has been found in Lake Mead in Nevada, as megadrought conditions have reduced the reservoir to just 27% of its capacity.

National Park Service officials said rangers were called to the reservoir between Nevada and Arizona around 11 a.m. Saturday after skeletal remains were discovered at Swim Beach.

"Park rangers responded and set a perimeter to recover the remains with the support from Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s dive team," the National Park Service said in a statement. "The Clark County Medical Examiner has been contacted to determine the cause of death."

On May 1, a barrel containing human remains was found near Hemenway Harbor. Police believe the remains were that of a man who died from a gunshot wound and the body was likely dumped in the mid-1970s to early 1980s.

Less than a week later, authorities say human skeletal remains were found at Calville Bay.

More recently, partial human remains were found in the Boulder Beach area on July 25.

Police have speculated that more remains may be discovered as the water level at Lake Mead continues to recede.

The discoveries have prompted speculation about long-unsolved missing person and murder cases dating back decades — to organized crime and the early days of Las Vegas, which is just a 30-minute drive from the lake.

The lake is currently at its lowest level for over 80 years, potentially creating major problems for the roughly 25 million people who rely on it as a water source. 

The drop in the lake level comes while a vast majority of peer-reviewed science says the world is warming, mainly because of rising levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Scientists say the U.S. West, including the Colorado River basin, has become warmer and drier in the past 30 years.

With the Associated Press.