Lake Mead murder mystery: Bodies found due to low water levels
BOULDER CITY, Nev. - There's a murder mystery at Lake Mead. The decades-long drought at America's biggest reservoir has dropped water levels so low that bodies are popping up.
Lake Mead is behind the Hoover Dam and about 40 miles from the Las Vegas strip. As the lake dries up, it could help crack some very cold cases.
"So, we're making our plans and everything, and we're like, well, we saw one body found in a barrel, so maybe we're going to hike and find a second body in a barrel. We figure like Jimmy Hoffa's underneath a stadium somewhere," said Dain Ebright.
MORE: Human remains resurfacing at Lake Mead, along with interest in Jimmy Hoffa’s 1975 disappearance
Ebright traveled to Las Vegas for his brother's bachelor party and arrived just days after a second body was discovered at Lake Mead.
Police say the first body, which was inside a barrel, was likely dumped in the 1970s or 1980s.
"If you're talking about that era in Las Vegas, the chances are that, you know, that this could have been a mob hit… It was a time with a great deal of pressure on the mob. And in order to survive, there was violence," said Geoff Schumacher, Mob Museum VP of exhibits and programs.
MORE: Body found in barrel at Lake Mead was of man who was shot, police say
Schumacher says dumping bodies in barrels was a signature move from the mob. But Vegas detectives haven't yet determined whether the mob is behind these bodies.
We're seeing them now because of the all-time low water levels at Lake Mead.
"That's the white band. You can see that anywhere in Lake Mead, and that is the high water line from July of 1983. And what that signifies is an elevation of around 1,225," explained Michael Bernardo of the U.S Bureau of Reclamation, Lower Colorado Basin.
The water level is now 1,052 feet, down 35 feet from last year, and it's still dropping.
"We've seen a second body revealed at Lake Mead. And I think we're going to see a lot more because there's a lot of drowning victims at the bottom of Lake Mead," said Schumacher.
MORE: Body in barrel could be first of more gruesome discoveries at Lake Mead as drought worsens
The mystery behind the bodies is fascinating, but this drought affects millions of people. California, Arizona, Nevada, and Mexico all get water from Lake Mead. And years from now, if levels drop too low, the Hoover Dam won't be able to produce power.
The best case scenario would be more snow pack in the winter.