By Sandy Malone and Holly Matkin
Clark County, NV – Two retired police officers have offered a $5,000 reward to certified divers who find more dead bodies in Lake Mead after more remains were found in the lake on Saturday, a week after a body was found inside a barrel.
National Park Service (NPS) rangers were alerted to more human remains at about 2 p.m. on May 7 at Callville Bay in Lake Mead National Recreation Area, FOX News reported.
Rangers set up a perimeter around the area and the Clark County medical examiner was called to the scene.
The investigation into the latest find is ongoing, FOX News reported.
Investigators said the first body, which was found inside a corroded barrel by a citizen at approximately 3 p.m. on May 1, belonged to an unidentified male gunshot victim who was likely murdered over 40 years ago and dumped into the nation’s largest reservoir, CNN reported.
“The victim’s clothes and shoes were sold at Kmart in the mid-to-late 1970s,” Las Vegas Metro Police Department (LVMPD) Homicide Lieutenant Ray Spencer told KLAS.
The barrel was found in a muddy area near the Hemenway Harbor boat ramp that would have been beneath several dozen feet of water in the 1970s and 1980s, according to investigators.
“The lake has drained dramatically over the last 15 years,” Lt. Spencer said, according to CNN. “The barrel was likely dropped hundreds of yards off the shore back then, but that area is now considered the shoreline.”
As the water continues to drop, “it’s likely that we will find additional bodies that have been dumped in Lake Mead,” the lieutenant added.
Police said they believe the heavily-corroded barrel was fully intact when it was dumped into the lake decades ago, KLAS reported.
The victim’s clothing and other personal items found inside the barrel have helped investigators to develop a timeline, but the victim’s identity remains unknown.
“Identifying the person is going to be an extensive challenge at this point,” Lt. Spencer told KLAS.
A second barrel was found by a news crew at the lake a couple of hundred feet away from where the first barrel was found, but it turned out not to contain human remains.
Police have said they think it’s possible that more human remains will be exposed as the lake level continues to drop amidst the ongoing drought.
Lake Mead’s water level was at approximately 1,054 feet above sea level as of May 2, which is about 160 feet below where it was in 2000 – the last time it was considered to be full, CNN reported.
The level recorded on Monday was a record low for the reservoir, which was first filled in the 1930s.
In an effort to take advantage of the situation and bring closure to the families of missing persons, two retired police officers with a cable television show have offered an incentive to certified scuba divers to find additional bodies, KVVU reported.
Retired LVMPD Officers David Kohlmeier and Daniel Minor, hosts of “The Problem Solver Show,” announced a $5,000 reward on Thursday to divers for finding additional human remains in Lake Mead.
“The Problem Solver is offering this challenge in an effort to bring a sense of closure to the families and friends of the victims, and to assist local law enforcement in their efforts,” Kohlmeier and Minor said in a statement on May 5.
The men said they were hoping to take advantage of the drought to resolve some unsolved cases.
“We do believe there are others out there,” Kohlmeier said. “We believe there are cold cases that are out there or missing people in general. Since the water is so low right now there’s a chance in history to recover bodies.”
He said they are only asking for help from, and offering rewards to, certified scuba divers, KVVU reported.
“People that are professionals. We’re not looking for anyone to get hurt,” Kohlmeier said.
The reward will be paid out of show funds, KVVU reported.