Investigators release simulated images to identify man found inside barrel in Lake Mead in 2022

Officials released simulated images earlier this week of a man who was found in a barrel in Lake Mead last year in hopes of trying to identify him.

CLARK COUNTY, Nev. — Officials released simulated images earlier this week of a man whose body was found inside a barrel in Lake Mead last year in hopes of trying to identify him.

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The barrel was found in 2022 at the Hemenway Harbor at Lake Mead in Nevada, Clark County officials say. The man died from a gunshot wound, and his manner of death was ruled a homicide.

The FBI constructed simulated images of the man’s face of the recovered remains in hopes of trying to identify him, officials said, according to CNN. The images provide different angles of the simulated face. Investigators are seeking help from the public to see if they recognize the man in the images.

The barrel was found by a visitor, according to CNN. They were able to see that the barrel was corroded.

At the time, investigators believe that person was killed in the mid-1970s or early 1980s, according to CNN. That was based on the clothing and shoes the victim was found wearing.

Officials said, according to CNN, that the remains were in advanced stages of decomposition, which made the process of extracting DNA very difficult. The barrel was found in 2022 because of the receded shoreline at Lake Mead.

The unidentified man’s case is one of four involving multiple sets of remains that were found in Lake Mead last year, according to Clark County officials. The coroner’s office has been able to identify the remains of the three other cases.

  • Claude Russell Pensinger, 52, disappeared in July 1998. His remains were found in the summer of 2022. They were identified earlier this year but his cause of death was ruled undetermined, Clark County officials say. His remains were found at Boulder Beach.
  • Donald P. Smith, 39, was believed to have drowned in April 1974. His remains were located at Callville Bay in October 2022 and were identified earlier this year. His death, according to CNN, was ruled as accidental.
  • Thomas Erndt, 42, was believed to have drowned in the Callville Bay area. He was found in May 2022 and his remains were identified in August 2022. The cause and manner of this death are undetermined, Clark County officials say.

More information can be found on the National Missing and Unidentified Person’s (NamUs) System’s website.

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