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Police: Body found in Lake Mead barrel was likely 1970s-80s homicide victim

May 3 (UPI) -- Police in Las Vegas on Tuesday said a body found in a barrel in Lake Mead over the weekend may have been the victim of murder up to 50 years ago.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Homicide Section Lt. Ray Spencer said detectives believe the victim, whose remains were found in a 50-gallon drum, was killed in the mid-1970s or early 1908s based on the clothing and shoes the man was wearing.

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Spencer said the shoes found on the body were sold at Kmart and manufactured in the mid- and late-1970s.

Investigators are attempting to identify the victim, who Spencer said police believe died in " a homicide as a result of a gunshot wound."

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Las Vegas resident Shawna Hollister said she and her husband found the "very deteriorated" barrel containing the body of a male that had decomposed to mostly bones after hearing a woman's scream when visiting the lake.

Spencer previously said it was likely the barrel was dropped from a boat.

"The water level has dropped so much over the last 30 to 40 years that, where the person was located, if a person were to drop the barrel in the water and it sinks, you are never going to find it unless the water level drops," he said. "The water level has dropped and made the barrel visible. The barrel did not move ... It was not like the barrel washed up."

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He added that "it's likely that we will find additional bodies that have been dumped in Lake Mead," as the water level continues to drop.

Last August, the federal government declared a water shortage in the Colorado River Basin for the first time, stating that the water level in Lake Mead, which is the largest reservoir in the United States by volume, had fallen to 1,067 feet above sea level and was at 35% capacity.

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