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Officials warn about searching for bodies at Lake Mead as 'additional human remains' are likely to be found |

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Officials warn about searching for bodies at Lake Mead as 'additional human remains' are likely to be found

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) -- "Additional human remains" and other artifacts are likely to be discovered as water levels decline at Lake Mead, the National Park Service told 8 News Now on Monday, as leaders warn removing these items carries a fine.

On May 1, a barrel containing the remains of a man was discovered on the shore of Lake Mead near Hemenway Harbor. It was determined the man had been shot and the murder likely happened in the 1970s.

Two paddleboarders discovered skeletal remains in Callville Bay on Saturday. The bones were in a sandy area.

A body was discovered in a barrel on the shore of Lake Mead outside of Las Vegas on May 1, 2022. (Shawna Hollister/KLAS)

Last week, two retired Las Vegas police officers said they would offer a $5,000 reward for anyone who located more remains in the lake.

“As water levels at Lake Mead continue to decline, it is possible for artifacts that are hundreds or thousands of years old to be discovered, and this includes the possibility of finding additional human remains,” officials with the park service told 8 News Now on Monday.” In previous decades when Lake Mead had higher water elevations, search and rescue efforts may have been limited by diving depths. However, current low water levels may help make discoveries easier to find and potentially close old open-ended missing persons cases."

Park leaders said visitors cannot come to the park to search for remains.

Skeletal remains were discovered by two sisters at Lake Mead on May 7, 2022. (Credit: Lindsey Melvin)

“Lake Mead stresses that, contrary to recent news stories or independent offers of financial reward, visitors are not permitted to come to the park in efforts to independently search for artifacts or other theoretical cold case evidence,” they said. “The use of drones and metal detectors or the practice of magnet fishing in the park are strictly prohibited and could result in significant fines and penalties.”

A federal law bans anyone from taking artifacts found on the park service’s land, they said. A violation can carry a $5,000 fine and jail time.

Anyone who discovers human remains or an artifact is asked to call 702-293-8998.

The area near Hemenway Harbor as seen on May 2, 2022. Lake Mead has dropped dramatically over the past two decades. (KLAS)

The ongoing severe drought is leading to other discoveries in the lake. In April, the top of a water intake pipe was visible above the water’s surface as the lake level continues to drop.

Lake Mead dropped below 1,056 feet in elevation at the end of April. The lake level on Monday was four feet lower. Lake levels are expressed in altitude, not depth. At its highest levels, the lake is near 1,225 feet.