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Scary: A body in a barrel, in a lake from the ’80s.

The discovery of a metal barrel containing the remains of a person killed in the 1980s has Las Vegas police wondering if other bodies may be found at Nevada’s Lake Mead. The victim, whose identity is still unknown, is believed to have died as a result of a homicide.

The barrel was discovered on the shore of the lake due to the ongoing drought, which has caused the water level to drop significantly. “It’s really odd in the sense that had the lake never receded, we would never have discovered the body,” said Lt. Ray Spencer of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. “Based on items recovered inside the barrel, investigators believe the victim was killed in the 1980s.”

Despite being unable to determine the exact age of the victim, investigators believe they know the sex and cause of death. However, due to the condition of the body, it will be difficult to identify them. University of Nevada, Las Vegas experts will assist in trying to determine who the victim is. Investigators are hopeful that the discovery will lead to more information about potential additional bodies that may be located at Lake Mead. Rangers with the National Park Service find one or two bodies every year at the lake.

The discovery of a skull and bones in a rusty barrel near Las Vegas has reignited speculation that the victim may have been killed by the Mafia. The barrel was found on Sunday by people walking along the shoreline of Lake Mead – America’s largest man-made reservoir.

While the sun shined on nearby boaters floating in the water, they peeked their heads inside and discovered a skeleton. “We were docking our boat to go home and heard a woman scream,” Shawna Hollister, a witness to the discovery, told KLAS-TV in Las Vegas.

“My husband walked over and found the body. His shirt and belt were the only things we could see over his decomposing bones.” Lieutenant Spencer of the Las Vegas Police Department said that investigators would “definitely not rule out” that the killing may have been Mafia-related, given that the victim was killed in an area near casinos dominated by mob activity in the 1980s.

Human remains have been discovered at Lake Mead, raising the possibility of a decades-old mystery being solved. The barrel was found by witnesses close to the receding shoreline, and authorities later confirmed that the contents inside were human remains. Investigators plan to scan missing-person cases from the 1980s in order to try and establish an identity for the victim.

The investigation could take years because of the need for DNA testing, which wasn’t available in the 1980s. If investigators are able to recover DNA samples from the remains, it will take extensive genealogy work to determine the person’s identity. Since 2000, the elevation of Lake Mead has dropped by nearly 150 feet because of “drought and climate change,” according to the Southern Nevada Water Authority. In August, the federal government for the first time declared a water shortage at Lake Mead, triggering cuts in water supply for the region.

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