LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The person found dead in a barrel along the shore of Lake Mead had been shot, and the date of death may be earlier than previously thought, Las Vegas police said Tuesday.
The person, believed to be a man, is suspected to have been murdered in the late 1970s or 1980s, investigators said.
A photo shared with the team showed what looked like skeletal remains in the barrel, which looked to have been stuck in the mud.
Police said they moved up their timeline due to the victim’s clothing and personal items found in the barrel. Authorities were working with researchers at the University of Nevada Las Vegas to better understand when the barrel may have eroded and how long it would have taken for growth on it.
“The victim’s clothes and shoes were sold at Kmart in the mid-to-late 1970s,” Metro Police Homicide Lt. Ray Spencer said.
Police believe the barrel was fully intact when it was dropped into the lake.
The area where the barrel was discovered is near the Hemenway Harbor boat ramp, not far from the Hoover Dam. Crews have had to extend the ramp a half-mile over the past decades to get it closer to the water.
In the 1970s and 1980s, what is now beach would have been several dozen feet underwater.
The ongoing severe drought is leading to other discoveries in the lake. Last week, the top of a water intake pipe was visible above the water’s surface as the lake level continues to drop.
The Clark County coroner’s office was working to identify the remains.
Police said they have received many tips.
Tips can be submitted anonymously through Crime Stoppers by calling 702-385-5555 or at crimestoppersofnv.com/report-a-crime. Information can also be sent via text by sending “CRIMENV” and then your message to “CRIMES” (274637). Crime Stoppers offers a reward for information that leads to an arrest.