Local News


Decades-old barrel with human remains washes up on shore of Lake Mead

Lake Mead mystery
Posted at 1:36 PM, May 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-18 18:59:37-04

(KTNV) — The receding shores of Lake Mead gave up a new secret on Sunday, May 1: a barrel containing human remains.

In the days that followed, police said the remains are believed to be those of a man who was shot and killed anytime from the mid-1970s to early 1980s.

As drought causes the lake's waters to recede ever further, many wonder what other long-hidden secrets may rise to the surface.

Giving Hope

A murder mystery more than 1,000 miles away could bring answers to a Tennessee woman hoping to track down her father’s killer nearly 30 years later. Christine Huffman has been on close watch for any new information after human remains were discovered in Nevada’s Lake Mead earlier this month. She said family and friends continue to send her articles, hoping there may be a connection to when her father’s body was pulled from Lake Mead in 1994.


While these remains are being discovered, lake goers are questioning whether or not it is safe to continue to visit the lake. The family that spoke to us said they have been visiting Lake Mead for more than 15 years. However, with the significant low levels, and the discovery of two bodies, they say the lake is no longer what it used to be.


On Saturday afternoon, Lindsey and Lynette added human skeletal remains to their list of finds at Lake Mead.


Las Vegas Metropolitan Police said there "is no evidence to suggest foul play" in the death of a person whose skeletal remains were found at Lake Mead on Saturday.


A second set of human remains were found at Callville Bay in Lake Mead National Recreation Area Saturday.


Multiple agencies have been assisting, and a UNLV assistant anthropology professor Dr. Jennifer Byrnes has been consulted on this case.


Retired police officers, David Kohlmeier and Daniel Minor of The Problem Solver show, said they are offering $5,000 rewards to volunteer divers who find any remaining bodies from Lake Mead.


The Vegas Justice League has offered the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department support in identifying a decades old body found in a corroded drum on the coast of Lake Mead Sunday.


The depths of Lake Mead are being revealed as the drought crisis in Southern Nevada and the western U.S. worsens. As the lake's levels continue to drop at an alarming rate, what else might be discovered? "We expect fully as lake levels drop, there will be artifacts that are hundreds of thousands of years old," said Dave Alberg, the chief of resource management and compliance at Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Read more here.


A man found dead in a barrel at Lake Mead appears to have died from a gunshot wound, Las Vegas detectives announced. Investigators believe he was killed sometime in the mid-1970s or early 1980s, based on clothing and footwear found on his person. Read more here.


Homicide Lt. Ray Spencer discusses the investigation into the murder, which likely happened 30 to 40 years before the body was found. At that time, the water where the barrel was dumped would likely has been 50 to 60 feet deep, he said. Read more here.


The National Park Service searches the area near Hemenway Harbor after a witness reported finding a barrel containing human remains on Sunday, May 1. Las Vegas police are called, and the barrel is taken to the Clark County Coroner's Office to perform an autopsy. Read the breaking news report.

This page will be updated with new information as the investigation into this homicide continues.