LES VEGAS — More human remains have been found in the drought-stricken Lake Mead National Recreation Area east of Las Vegas, officials said Sunday.
It’s the fourth time since May that debris has been discovered as western drought forces the coast to retreat into the shrinking Colorado River reservoir behind Hoover Dam.
National Park Service officials said rangers were called to the reservoir between Nevada and Arizona around 11 a.m. Saturday after skeletal remains were discovered at Swim Beach.
Rangers and a dive team from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police went to recover the remains.
Park Service officials said the Clark County Coroner’s Office will try to determine when and how the person died while investigators review missing person records.
On May 1, a barrel containing human remains was found near Hemenway Harbor. Police believe the remains were those of a man who died of a gunshot wound and the body was likely dumped in the mid-1970s to early 1980s.
Less than a week later, authorities say human skeletal remains were found in Calville Bay.
Most recently, partial human remains were found in the Boulder Beach area on July 25.
Police have speculated that more remains may be discovered as the water level in Lake Mead continues to drop.
The discoveries have fueled speculation of decades-long missing and murdered cases, from organized crime and the early days of Las Vegas, which is just a 30-minute drive from the lake.
The lake’s surface has dropped more than 170 feet (52 meters) since the reservoir was full in 1983.
The lake level drop comes as a large majority of peer-reviewed science says the world is warming, mainly due to rising levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere .
Scientists say the western United States, including the Colorado River basin, has become warmer and drier in the past 30 years.