Lake Mead Sees Third Submerged Body Surface This Year

Posted on: July 27, 2022, 01:43h. 

Last updated on: August 1, 2022, 03:58h.

Long-submerged human remains have been discovered in a part of Lake Mead that once sat underwater. Because of a severe drought, the area is now exposed and apparently revealing several secrets.

World War II landing craft Lake Mead
The receding waters of Lake Mead have exposed three long-submerged bodies and several sunken boats, including this World War II-era landing craft discovered in June. Receding waters recently revealed another body. (Image: CNN)

The latest discovery marks the third body to be found in the waters in two months. The latest remains were found partially submerged in mud in the swimming area along the shore north of Hemenway Harbor.

They belong to a single person whose gender was not immediately apparent, Clark County Coroner Melanie Rouse told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The National Park Service made the grisly discovery on July 25, 2022, at Swim Beach, a small recreation area along the Boulder Basin of Lake Mead, according to a press release. The park service investigated based on several eyewitness reports.

Mob Ties

Just two months ago, on May 1, 2022, boaters discovered remains inside a corroded metal barrel. The barrel was stuck in the mud 100 feet under Lake Mead’s Hemenway Harbor. Along with the coroner’s office, homicide police are investigating the case of a man they believe to have been murdered by a gunshot to the head sometime from the mid-’70s to early ’80s.

Obviously, these are all signatures of a mob hit,” Geoff Schumacher of the Mob Museum told

Although Schumacher wouldn’t speculate, the body could belong to veteran Vegas casino host Johnny Pappas. Pappas disappeared on Aug. 18, 1976, after telling his wife he planned to meet someone interested in buying his boat.

Less than a week later, on May 7, 2022, another body was found on a sand bar near Lake Mead’s Callville Bay. Foul play is not suspected in that case, since the coroner’s office is investigating without assistance from homicide police.

Drought May Mean More Secrets

Lake Mead is now at 30% of full capacity. This is its lowest level since it was first filled by the completion of the Hoover Dam in 1935. Two decades of slowed snow runoff into the Colorado River has been cited as a major contributory factor.

Lake Mead is the largest US reservoir. It provides water to nearly 20 million people in California, Nevada, Arizona, and some of Mexico. The lake was last considered full in 2000, when its water level was 1,214 feet. It has fallen 174 feet since then, leaving an eerie white bathtub ring of calcium and other minerals formerly dissolved in the water along its walls.

As water levels recede and fluctuate, it is possible that artifacts that we do and don’t know about may emerge; including human remains from previous missing person reports,” the park service wrote in a statement.

However, don’t plan on coming to the location to scout for more unearthed secrets. The park service statement warned visitors that they’re not permitted to visit the park to search for potential human remains.

Instead, visitors should call Park Dispatch and provide rangers with their approximate location of the remains so they can properly investigate the scene.