Police Solve 50-Year-Old Case, Identify Skeletal Remains Found In Dried Up Lake

(Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

Alexander Pease Contributor
Font Size:

Nevada officials identified human remains that were found in a drying Lake Mead last year and in turn solved a 50-year-old case.

Authorities found the remains of the late Donald P. Smith of Northern Las Vegas who was reported to have disappeared near the city back in 1970s, according to Fox 5 DC. The Clark County Office of the Coroner & Medical Examiner has now revealed that the remains are Smith, determining the man drowned in the lake in 1974.

The identification process relied on both DNA analysis as well as accounts and reports from the “original incident,” the office stated. “The cause and manner of Mr. Smith’s death was determined to be drowning and accidental.” (RELATED: Video Shows Chef Jumping Into Water To Free Motorist From Sinking Car)

Contractors working on a marina first found the skeletal remains October 17. Several days later, more skeleton remains surfaced as a result of Lake Mead naturally drying up, making Smith’s remains one of six discovered. In one case, the remains of an unidentified person were presumed to be the result of a death by gunshot wound. (RELATED: ‘Lady Of The Dunes:’ FBI Identifies Cape Cod Murder Victim Nearly 50 Years Later)

Authorities discovered the remains of Thomas Erndt of Las Vegas, who was said to be 42-years-old at the time of his reported drowning in 2002. Police, however, were unable to determine the exact cause of his death.

Lake Mead is an artificial lake, and its waters flow from the Hoover Dam, according to The American Southwest.