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More Human Remains Found in Lake Mead, the 4th Such Discovery Since May

Lake Mead National Recreation Area is a U.S. National Recreation Area located in southeastern Nevada and northwestern Arizona. It is managed by the U.S. National Park Service. Lake Mead NRA follows the Colorado River corridor from the westernmost boundary of Grand Canyon National Park to just north of the cities of Laughlin, Nevada and Bullhead City, Arizona. Formation of Lake MEad began in 1935, less than a year before Hoover Dam was completed. Lake Mead NRA features water recreation, including boating, swimming and fishing.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area is a U.S. National Recreation Area located in southeastern Nevada and northwestern Arizona. It is managed by the U.S. National Park Service. Lake Mead NRA follows the Colorado River corridor from the westernmost boundary of Grand Canyon National Park to just north of the cities of Laughlin, Nevada and Bullhead City, Arizona. Formation of Lake MEad began in 1935, less than a year before Hoover Dam was completed. Lake Mead NRA features water recreation, including boating, swimming and fishing.

Photo: Getty

More human remains have been found at Lake Mead near Las Vegas, the fourth such discovery since May, authorities announced Saturday.

The National Park Service (NPS) was alerted about the skeletal remains at Swim Beach in Lake Mead National Recreation Area at about 11 a.m. on Aug. 6.

“Park rangers responded and set a perimeter to recover the remains with the support from Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s dive team,” the NPS said in a news release.

The Clark County Medical Examiner will determine the person’s cause of death.

The investigation is ongoing, the release states.

The remains are the fourth found in Lake Mead since May.

On May 1, boaters found a barrel on an embankment in Hemenway Harbor containing the body of a homicide victim.

“The cause of death was gunshot wound,” Clark County Coroner Melanie Rouse tells PEOPLE.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department detectives believe the victim was killed some time in the mid-1970s to early ’80s, based on the clothing and footwear the victim was found with.

Lake Mead, NV - June 29: A closed launch ramp sign is posted as preparations for ramp repair are underway to reopen the popular ramp by the weekend at Hemenway Harbor, Lake Mead, which is at its lowest level in history since it was filled 85 years ago, Tuesday, June 29, 2021. The ongoing drought has made a severe impact on Lake Mead and a milestone in the Colorado River's crisis. High temperatures, increased contractual demands for water and diminishing supply are shrinking the flow into Lake Mead. Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the U.S., stretching 112 miles long, a shoreline of 759 miles, a total capacity of 28,255,000 acre-feet, and a maximum depth of 532 feet.

Lake Mead, NV - June 29: A closed launch ramp sign is posted as preparations for ramp repair are underway to reopen the popular ramp by the weekend at Hemenway Harbor, Lake Mead, which is at its lowest level in history since it was filled 85 years ago, Tuesday, June 29, 2021. The ongoing drought has made a severe impact on Lake Mead and a milestone in the Colorado River's crisis. High temperatures, increased contractual demands for water and diminishing supply are shrinking the flow into Lake Mead. Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the U.S., stretching 112 miles long, a shoreline of 759 miles, a total capacity of 28,255,000 acre-feet, and a maximum depth of 532 feet.

Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty

“The victim’s clothes and shoes were sold at Kmart in the mid-to-late 1970s,” Metro Police Homicide Lt. Ray Spencer told local news outlet KLAS.

Rouse says the FBI is assisting “in processing of specimens for DNA.”

“Our office is mandated to attempt to make identification,” says Rouse. “That identification process does often require us to utilize other subject matter experts including individuals such as anthropologists, forensic odontologists or forensic dentists, and other specialists, including outside agencies for the purpose of extracting and compiling DNA when possible.”

A second set of remains was found at Lake Mead on May 7. In that incident, NPS rangers were called to Callville Bay in Lake Mead National Recreation Area around 2 p.m. on May 9 after two paddle boarders found the remains.

“These remains have been determined to be male,” says Rouse. “And we have an estimated range from 28 to 38 years of age.”

The cause of death has been ruled undetermined, she says.

The third set of remains was found at Boulder Beach around 4:30 p.m. on July 25 and have not been identified.

“Cause and manner of death in this particular case is still pending further studies,” says Rouse.

“It is not uncommon to have deaths that do come to us from recreational areas,” she says. “So that is pretty common that we will respond to a recreation area throughout the year.”

Climate change and drought have caused the lake’s water levels to drop to their lowest levels in recorded history, according to the Associated Press.