Human remains unveiled in Lake Mead’s low water levels last year have finally been identified as a Las Vegas man who went missing years ago, local authorities said this week.
The Clark County coroner’s office identified Claude Russell Pensinger, who was 52 when he died. He went missing in 1998, the Associated Press reported. His bones were discovered over the course of several days last year at the end of July and early August near the Boulder Beach swimming area.
Pensinger’s remains were one of several that were revealed last year. Western states were under a historic drought that had rapidly shrunk water reservoirs in the region, including Lake Mead. Authorities are still working to identify the remains of a person found in a barrel who local police say was shot in the head, the Associated Press reported. Due to the clothing and other items found in the barrel alongside the skeleton, authorities believe that the barrel was placed in the lake sometime in the 1980s. That particular set of bones was discovered early last May near a popular recreation area that was once covered by several feet of water. Another set of bones was found at the lake just a few days after the barrel was discovered.
The question remains, is there a possibility of finding more bodies at in the country’s largest water reservoir? Things are looking relatively hopeful for the reservoir. Snowpack in the Colorado Basin, which melts and feeds into the Colorado River and later into Lake Mead, is higher than average this year. And Nevada is seeing a lot less drought in 2023 compared to 2022. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, large patches of the state are not experiencing any dry conditions at all. Last April, almost all of Nevada was experiencing severe and extreme drought conditions. However, the country’s largest water reservoir is still seeing pretty low water levels, according to data from the Bureau of Reclamation.
Colby Pellegrino, the deputy general manager of resources for the Southern Nevada Water Authority, said that it’s still unsure that’s enough to replenish water at Lake Mead. Water authorities out west are keeping an eye on how melting snowpack will affect levels for the rest of this spring and into the summer, KLAS news reported.
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