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Officials: Remains found in Nevada's Lake Mead identified as 42-year-old from Las Vegas

The human remains were found on May 7
Lake Mead
Posted at 6:39 PM, Aug 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-24 21:39:47-04

(KTNV) — An official from Clark County, Nevada, which includes the city of Las Vegas, confirmed that the state's coroner's office has been able to identify remains found at Nevada's Lake Mead on May 7.

PREVIOUS: Officials discover another set of skeletal remains at Lake Mead

The coroner identified the remains as Thomas Erndt of Las Vegas, Nevada.

"Mr. Erndt was 42 years old at the time of his reported drowning on Aug. 2, 2002," Dan Kulin said in a press release.

Officials say the confirmed cause of death for Erndt is still considered undetermined, even though his death was reported as a drowning.

FULL COVERAGE: Multiple discoveries of human remains as drought shrinks water levels"

Since May, at least five human bodies have been found in the reservoir known as Lake Mead, Newsweek reported.

Lake Mead is the largest man-made reservoir in the United States and has experienced large water losses in recent months because of an ongoing megadrought in the western U.S.

More from the press release:

As you know, the Clark County Office of the Coroner/Medical Examiner has ongoing investigations into other human remains found recently at Lake Mead.

  • On Aug. 16, partial skeletal remains were discovered in the Boulder Beach area. The remains were found by a park visitor in the water. No additional information about these remains is available at this time.
  • On Aug. 6, visitors to the Boulder Beach area discovered partial skeletal remains near the shoreline. These were located in the same area as partial remains that were discovered on July 25. At this time, the investigation into these remains includes working to determine whether the two sets of remains are from the same person or not.
  • On May 1, remains were discovered in a barrel at Hemenway Harbor. The decedent was a male who died from a gunshot would. The manner of his death was homicide.

The process for identifying the remains discovered at the lake includes examinations to determine the gender and approximate age, height and weight of each decedent; the collection of DNA samples, the quality of which can be greatly affected by time and environmental conditions; and comparing findings to information about people who have been reported missing over the years.


This report was originally published by KTNV, and has additional reporting from the Scripps National team.