Lake Mead Body Has Been Identified

Thomas Erndt was presumed drowned 20 years ago
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 25, 2022 7:51 AM CDT
Lake Mead Body Is That of Man Presumed Drowned in 2002
A formerly sunken boat sits on cracked earth hundreds of feet from the shoreline of Lake Mead at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area on May 10, 2022, near Boulder City, Nev.   (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

In 2002, a Las Vegas Review-Journal death notice said 42-year-old Las Vegas resident Thomas Erndt "jumped from a boat on Aug, 2 is missing and presumed drowned" and a memorial service was held at a Catholic church a week later. Now, after more than 20 years, his family has a body to bury. Authorities say the skeletal remains found at Lake Mead on May 7 have been identified as Erndt by the Clark County coroner, CNN reports. "The identification was based on investigative information, DNA analysis and reports from the original incident," county spokesman Dan Kulin said in a statement. "The cause and manner of Mr. Erndt’s death is undetermined."

An Aug. 13, 2002 Cincinnati Enquirer obituary described Erndt, a former resident of the city, as a devoted father of two who had died in an accident on the lake, NBC reports. His remains were found in the Calville Bay area. Drought has caused the lake, America's largest reservoir, to drop to unprecedented lows and the remains of at least two other people have been found—including an apparent homicide victim whose body was found in a barrel. There have been three finds of remains in the Boulder Swim Beach area, and authorities tell CNN that the coroner is trying to determine whether they're all from the same person. (In Texas, severe drought has exposed dinosaur tracks.)

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