A gun has been found along Lake Mead, in Las Vegas, near where a body in a barrel was spotted earlier this year, The Independent reported.
The body in the barrel was the first set of human remains found around the lake this summer as intense drought in the western US has driven water levels to record lows.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) said that a gun was found around Lake Mead, near where one of the human remains had been spotted.
“Although it is not uncommon for firearms to be found at the lake, it is too early to determine whether it is connected to the current investigation,” LVMPD tweeted.
Based on the clothing found with the remains, the person in the barrel is believed to have died at some point in the late 1970s or early 1980s. Police have said the person was shot.
Some have speculated that the individual could have been the victim of a murder, perhaps from members of organized crime in Las Vegas at the time.
Lake Mead, which sits along the Colorado River on the border of Nevada and Arizona, was formed after construction of the Hoover Dam in the 1930s.
Since May, five sets of human remains have been spotted around the lake, the country’s largest reservoir. One, near Swim Beach in Nevada, was found earlier this week.
Water levels have reached unprecedented lows this year—the lake is now just above 27 per cent of total capacity—as drought wreaks havoc on the region.
Nearly the entire Colorado River watershed is facing drought conditions, with the area near Lake Mead under “severe” to “extreme” drought conditions, according to the US federal government’s drought monitor.
This current drought is just an extension of a decades-long “megadrought” that has pummeled the US southwest since the start of the 21st century.
One recent study found that the past two decades have been the driest 22-year period for at least 1,200 years—and that these dry conditions have been fuelled by the climate crisis.
And further climate crisis will only make this worse. Another recent study found that for every 1 degree Celsius of warming, the Colorado River’s flow has dropped by about 9 percent.
In addition to the bodies, the shrinking lake has revealed artifacts like a Second World War-era boat that had sunk decades ago.