Remains found at Lake Mead belong to man who drowned in 1974

Human remains found at Lake Mead in October have been identified as those of a north Las Vegas man who drowned in 1974, Clark County officials said.

The skeletal remains of Donald P. Smith, 39, were discovered Oct. 17 and Oct. 19 at multiple locations on Lake Mead, Stacey Welling, a Clark County spokeswoman, said in a news release. The death was determined by the Clark County Coroner’s Office to be an accident, officials said.

“The identification was based on DNA analysis and reports of the original incident,” officials said.

Four remains, including Smith’s, were found at the lake last year amid historically low water levels.

On May 1, the remains of a man who had died of a gunshot wound in what the coroner said was murder were found in a barrel in Hemenway Harbour. The individual is still unidentified, but he may have been killed between the mid-1970s and early 1980s, according to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

Six days later, the skeletal remains of Thomas Erndt, 42, were found near Callville Bay. His drowning was reported on August 2, 2002, but the coroner’s office has yet to determine the cause and manner of death.

In July and August, the remains of an unidentified man were found near the shore of Boulder Beach. Some of the remains have been found by park visitors.

The coroner’s office continues to attempt to identify the remains, but noted that DNA and other forms of identification can be affected by the elements.

“The process of identifying the remains includes investigations to determine the sex and approximate age, height and weight of each deceased; taking DNA samples, the quality of which can be severely degraded by time and environmental conditions,” Clark County officials said. Remains found at Lake Mead belong to man who drowned in 1974

Alley Einstein

Alley Einstein is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Alley Einstein joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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