Officials Believe Human Bones Found in Lake Mead Belong to a Man Who Drowned 20 Years Ago

Authorities in Nevada said on Wednesday that human remains found at Lake Mead more than three months ago have been identified as those of Thomas Erndt, who was presumed to have drowned two decades ago.

According to a press release from the Clark County Office of Communications & Strategy, the remains of Erndt were discovered in the Callville Bay section of the lake on May 7. Erndt was positively identified using information gathered from the investigation, DNA testing, and witness statements.

The exact cause and manner of death were uncertain as of Wednesday, but authorities stated the 42-year-old Las Vegan drowned on August 2, 2002.

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Officials provide updated information on the three skeletons discovered in Lake Mead.

Details of the three sets of human remains discovered at Lake Mead are now being made public, according to officials.

Since May, when water levels hit record lows due to the ongoing drought situation in the West, at least three sets of human remains have been recovered at the lake, including those of Erndt.

Officials had previously stated that a person was discovered in a corroding barrel with a gunshot wound. Currently, law enforcement is treating the incident as a possible murder. The coroner has determined that the remains found in Hemenway Harbor correspond to a female who died sometime between the mid-1970s and the early-1980s; they have dubbed her Hemenway Harbor Doe.

Last month, in the middle of August, authorities located human remains at Boulder Swim Beach near Lake Mead. It’s uncertain if the three sets of skeletal remains found at Boulder Swim Beach all belong to the same person or to three different people. Clark County’s coroner is trying to ascertain if the two sets of fragmentary remains found in the area are from the same person, a county official previously told CNN.

Human remains discovered in the lake have proven difficult to identify since they were in such an advanced state of decomposition that DNA extraction was an uphill battle. Police and Clark County Coroner Melanie Rouse have informed CNN that their agency employs X-rays, fingerprinting, forensic dentistry, and forensic anthropology to discover more about a body.

Extreme dryness at Dinosaur Valley State Park has revealed dinosaur footprints dating back 113 million years.

Extreme dryness at Dinosaur Valley State Park has revealed dinosaur footprints dating back 113 million years.

Approximately 25 million people in Arizona, Nevada, California, and Mexico are supplied by water from Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States. Due to a megadrought induced by the effects of global warming, the lake’s water level has dropped to record lows in recent years. Lake Mead peaked in 1983 at an elevation of 1,225 feet above sea level. So far this summer, however, the level has only reached roughly 1,040 feet, which is only about 27% of its total capacity.

As the lake level has dropped, previously submerged objects like a ship from World War II and the reservoir’s original intake valve from 1971 have become more visible.

Parts of a riverbed in Texas dried up this summer due to the state’s harsh drought conditions and heat waves, revealing dinosaur traces from roughly 113 million years ago in a park.