Human remains found in Nevada’s dwindling Lake Mead have been identified as those of a 52-year-old man who went missing in 1998, Clark County said in a statement Wednesday.
The skeletal remains were identified by the county medical examiner’s office as Claude Russell Pensinger of Las Vegas, he said.
The remains were found on three different dates: July 25, August 6 and August 16, but they all belonged to him, the office said. They were found off the coast of Boulder Beach, in the massive Nevada-sized reservoir north of the Hoover Dam.
Pensinger’s cause of death was not determined, Clark County said in the statement.
A July 20, 1998 Las Vegas Review-Journal article stated that Pensinger was fishing when disappeared from his shipwho was found running in circles, the newspaper reported on Wednesday.
As water levels in Lake Mead dropped, several human remains were found, including a series of discoveries that began in May of last year.
One of them has been ruled an obvious homicide by officials: a person fatally shot whose remains were found in a 50-gallon drum in Hemenway Harbor.
The remains of another person, Donald P. Smith of North Las Vegas, were found on October 17 and 19. Smith drowned in an accident in 1974, the medical examiner’s office determined.
The remains of Thomas Erndt of Las Vegas were found on May 7. It was reported that he drowned in the lake in 2002, although the cause and manner of death remain undetermined.
When at «pool full,» Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the United States.
The level has fallen after a drought of more than 20 years. The Department of the Interior said this month that there is a possibility of «unprecedented water shortages» in the Colorado River basin.
Lake Mead was created by the construction of the Hoover Dam, which was completed in 1935. It is fed almost entirely by the Colorado River, although other sources account for 3% of the inflow, according to the National Park Service.