By Joy Malbon, CTV National News Washington Bureau Chief
Washington, D.C. (CTV Network) — “Where are the bodies buried? Climate change is showing us.”
If there was ever a headline that grabs you, that would be it. Bodies? Climate change? Here’s how the two are connected.
In the American West, the second-largest man-made reservoir has dropped to historic lows due to drought. Water flowing down the Colorado River fills Lake Mead, which is now drying up.
As the water recedes, dark secrets are floating to the surface after two sets of human remains were recently discovered.
Two sisters who were out paddle-boarding in the National Recreation area of Lake Mead stopped to explore a nearby sand bar when they discovered what they thought was an animal.
“We discovered more and more bones,” Lindsey Melvin told a local news outlet, “and we found a jawbone and we realized this is definitely human.”
Other human remains were found just six days earlier. Boaters enjoying a day on the lake made another grisly discovery, a decomposed body inside a rusted metal barrel.
Called in to investigate, Lt. Ray Spencer of the Las Vegas Police told CNN: “We believe this is a homicide as a result of a gunshot wound.”
The man had been shot in the back of the head, he said. As they try to identify the victim, another clue was the man’s clothing and shoes. They appear to be from the 1970s or early 1980s, and from a brand sold at K-mart.
Finding these bodies has rekindled interest in Las Vegas and its sin city past, when mobsters ruled the strip.
If anyone is an expert on all that, it’s Oscar Goodman. The former Las Vegas mayor was also a lawyer who once defended mafia figures like Anthony “Tony the Ant” Spilotro.
An enforcer for the Chicago mob, Spilotro was assigned to Las Vegas in the ‘70s. Described as defiant and angry, actor Joe Pesci modelled his mob character in the movie “Casino” on “Tony the Ant.”
Goodman won’t speculate on who might be in the Lake Mead barrel but said, “I’m relatively sure it was not Jimmy Hoffa,” referring to the former labour boss who disappeared in 1975.
“They keep on calling me up asking, Oscar who did it?” Goodman told The Associated Press. “And I said how am I supposed to know who did it? I didn’t order it; I’ll tell you that,” he also told NBC.
All of this has tongues wagging. Two former police officers who now co-host a Las Vegas podcast are offering a US$5,000 reward for qualified divers to find more barrels, and possibly more bodies in Lake Mead. David Kohlmeier told CTV News his “Problem Solver Show” has received several tips from the public including two related to ‘mob’ connections. He’s also heard from families of missing people including a father from Utah who disappeared in the 1980s.
“We just don’t truly know, there’s a lot of, you know, crazy people that do crazy things, whether it’s in Las Vegas or anywhere in the world.”
Kohlmeier hopes the mystery surrounding the bodies will be solved soon to help bring closure to these cold cases. “So I definitely want to close out any type of cases. People need justice, right? … or at least get some type of closure.”
As water levels continue to drop during this mega drought, many suspect what lies beneath Lake Mead won’t stay hidden for very long.
Kohlmeier says, “My gut says there’s probably more bodies.”
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