Las Vegas– More human remains have been found in the drought-hit Lake Mead National Recreation Area east of Las Vegas, officials said on Sunday.
This is the fourth time since May that the remains have been uncovered as a western drought forces the shoreline to retreat into the shrinking Colorado River reservoir behind Hoover Dam.
National Park Service officials said rangers were called to the reservoir between Nevada and Arizona at around 11 a.m. Saturday after skeletal remains were found at Swim Beach.
A diving team from Rangers and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police went to retrieve the remains.
Park Service officials said the Clark County Medical Examiner’s office will try to determine when and how the person died as investigators review missing people’s records.
On 1 May a barrel containing human remains was found near Hemenway Harbor. Police believe the remains belonged to a man who died of gunshot wounds and that the body was probably dumped in the mid-1970s to early 1980s.
Less than a week later, officials say human skeletal remains were found in Calville Bay.
Most recently, partial human remains were found on July 25 in the Boulder Beach area.
Police speculate that more remains may be discovered as the water level in Lake Mead recedes.
The discoveries have prompted speculation about long-resolved missing person and murder cases that spanned decades — organized crime and the early days of Las Vegas, which is just a 30-minute drive from the lake.
The lake’s surface has fallen by more than 170 feet (52 m) since the reservoir was filled in 1983.
The decline in lake levels comes as most of the 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 US West, including the Colorado River Basin, has become hotter and drier over the past 30 years.