Bodies surfacing in Lake Mead relive mob time in Las Vegas


Las Vegas is awash with information about organized crime after a second batch of human remains emerged within a week from the depths of a drought-stricken Colorado River reservoir just a 30-minute drive from the notorious mob-founded Gaza Strip.

“There’s no telling what we’ll find in Lake Mead,” former Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman said Monday. “It’s not a bad place to dump a dead body.”

Goodman, as a lawyer, represented mob figures including the ill-fated Anthony “Tony the Ant” Spilotro before serving three terms as mayor wearing a martini and appearing in public with a showgirl on each arm.

He declined to name who might appear in the vast reservoir formed by the Hoover Dam between Nevada and Arizona.

“I’m relatively sure it wasn’t Jimmy Hoffa,” he laughed. But he added that many of his former clients seemed interested in “climate control” – the mobs talking about keeping the lake at a high level and the bodies in their watery graves.

Instead, the world is now experiencing climate change, and the surface of Lake Mead has decreased by more than 170 feet (52 meters) since 1983.

The lake, which quenches the thirst of 40 million people in cities, farms and tribes across seven southwestern states, is down to about 30% of its capacity.

Note Michael Green, a professor of history at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, whose father has dealt with blackjack for decades at casinos including Stardust and Show Bot.

Green said, referring to the notorious gangster who opened Flamingo in 1944 on what would become the Strip. Siegel was murdered in 1947 in Beverly Hills, California. His killer has not been identified.

“But I’m willing to bet there will be quite a few bodies,” Green said.

This Saturday, May 7, 2022 image provided by Lindsey Melvin of Henderson, Nevada, shows human remains that she and her sister discovered on a sandbar that recently appeared as Lake Mead receded.  A closer look revealed a human jaw with teeth.
This Saturday, May 7, 2022 image provided by Lindsey Melvin of Henderson, Nevada, shows human remains that she and her sister discovered on a sandbar that recently appeared as Lake Mead receded.
Lindsey Melvin via AP

First, the lower lake level revealed the highest consumption of drinking water in Las Vegas on April 25, forcing the regional water authority to switch to the deep water intake it completed in 2020 to continue supplying casinos, suburbs, 2.4 million residents and 40 million tourists. every year.

The following weekend, boaters spotted the decomposing body of a man in a rusty barrel stuck in the mud of the newly exposed shoreline.

The body has not been identified, but Las Vegas police say he was shot, possibly between the mid-1970s and early 1980s, according to the shoes found with him. The death is being investigated as a murder.

A few days later, a second barrel was found by A KLAS-TV News The crew is not far from the first. It was empty.

On Saturday, two sisters from a suburb of Henderson who were paddling on a lake near a former marina resort noticed bones on a newly emerged strip of sand.

Lindsey Melvin, who took pictures of their discovery, said they initially thought it was the skeleton of a large sheep native to the area. A closer look revealed a human jaw with teeth. They called park rangers, and the National Park Service confirmed in a statement that the bones were human.

On Monday, Las Vegas police said there was no immediate evidence that something went wrong, and they are not investigating. The department said in a statement that a murder investigation would be opened if the Clark County coroner determines the death was suspicious.

More bodies will be discovered, predicted Jeff Schumacher, vice president of the Mobb Museum, a renovated historic post office in downtown Las Vegas and a federal building that opened in 2012 as the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement.

“I think a lot of these individuals may be drowning victims,” ​​Schumacher said, referring to boaters and swimmers who were never found. “But the barrel has the signature of hitting a mob. He stuffed the corpse into a barrel. Sometimes they would throw it into the water.”

He and Green cited the death of John “Handsome Johnny” Roselli, a mid-1950s Las Vegas gangster who disappeared in 1976 just days before his body was found in a 55-gallon (208-liter) steel drum floating off the coast. Miami.

Mischa McBride looks at a now-officially sunken boat on cracked ground hundreds of feet from what is now the shoreline on Lake Mead in Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Monday, May 9, 2022, near Boulder City, Nevada.  With information on organized crime after a second batch of human remains emerged within a week from the depths of a drought-stricken Colorado River reservoir just 30 minutes' drive from the notorious mob-founded Gaza Strip.
Mischa McBride looks at a now officially sunken boat on the cracked earth hundreds of feet from what is now the shoreline. Las Vegas is awash with information about organized crime after a second batch of human remains emerges within a week from the depths of a drought-stricken Colorado River reservoir.
AP Photo / John Loescher

David Colmayer, a former police officer now co-host of the Las Vegas podcast and emerging TV show “Problem Solving Program,” said Monday that after offering a $5,000 bounty last week to qualified divers for finding barrels in the lake, he heard from people in San Diego and Florida ready to try.

But National Park Service officials said this is not allowed, and that there are hundreds of barrels in the depths — some dating from the construction of the Hoover Dam in the 1930s.

Colmayer said he’s also heard from families of the missing and about cases such as a man suspected of killing his mother and brother in 1987, a hotel employee who disappeared in 1992, and a Utah father who disappeared in the 1980s.

“You’ll likely find remains all over Lake Mead,” Colmier said, including the Native Americans who were the area’s first inhabitants.

Greene said the discoveries made people talk not just about mob strikes, but about relief and closure for bereaved families. Not to mention the ever-increasing white metallic markings on the steep lake walls that show where the water is.

“People will talk about this for the right reasons and for the wrong reasons,” the professor said. “They’ll think we’re going to solve every gang murder. In fact, we might see some.”

“But it is also worth remembering that the mob did not like the murders taking place in the Las Vegas area, because they did not like the bad publicity being spread according to the Las Vegas history line.”

The right reason, Green said, is the visible evidence that the West has a serious water problem. ‘The bathtub ring’ around the lake, he said, is big and getting wider.

Whatever story emerges about the body in the barrel, Goodman predicted, it would add to the tradition of a city that grew by lake water from a creosote-covered desert to become Mecca.

“When I was mayor, every time I went to bedrock, I would start to shiver in fear that someone I might meet over the years would be revealed,” he said.

“We have a very interesting background,” Goodman added. “It definitely adds to the charm of Las Vegas.”

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