Name Now Attached to Lake Mead Bones

Remains found in Callville Bay area belong to 1974 drowning victim Donald Smith: officials
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2022 10:00 AM CDT
Updated Mar 29, 2023 9:25 AM CDT
At Lake Mead, an Explosive Find
Cracked earth is visible in an area once under the water of Lake Mead at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, on Jan. 27, 2023, near Boulder City, Nev.   (AP Photo/John Locher, File)
UPDATE Mar 29, 2023 9:25 AM CDT

Skeletal remains found in Lake Mead in October belong to a Las Vegas man who died almost 50 years ago. Donald Smith, identified through DNA analysis, was 39 when he drowned at the national recreation area in April 1974, Clark County officials say, per KLAS. His bones were found in the Callville Bay area over three days in October amid historic low water levels, per KSNV. The outlet reports two sets of remains found at Boulder Beach in July and August are believed to have come from the same person, who remains unidentified.

Oct 27, 2022 10:00 AM CDT

America's largest reservoir has given up a sixth set of human remains. A diver and business owner at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area found a presumed human bone in the Callville Bay area on Oct. 17, prompting a park dive team to investigate the following day, when more skeletal remains were found, per CNN. It's unclear if all of the bones belong to the same person. The Clark County Coroner's Office is working to identify the deceased, says park rep Stefani Dawn, who adds, "At this time, no foul play is suspected." Only the man whose severely decomposed body was found with an obvious gunshot wound in a barrel near Hemenway Harbor on May 1 has been described as a homicide victim. So far unidentified, he's believed to have died in the 1970s or '80s.

The man whose body was found in the Callville Bay area on May 7 has been identified as Thomas Erndt, who's presumed to have drowned after jumping from a boat in 2002. Some 300 people have drowned at Lake Mead since the 1930s, per KLAS. Officials have yet to say more about three additional sets of remains that surfaced in the Boulder Beach area in July and August. Two sets are believed to be linked, per Fox News. Historically low water levels on the Colorado River reservoir—which stood at 27% of capacity last month—aren't just revealing bodies, but also shipwrecks and rocks of great interest to scientists. As CNN reports, researchers have discovered ash deposits from multiple volcanic eruptions that occurred between 32,000 years and 12 million years ago. (More Lake Mead stories.)

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