Skeletal remains found at Lake Mead identified by coroner
The remains of a man who likely drowned nearly 40 years ago at Lake Mead National Recreation Area were found in October.
Updated March 29, 2023 - 9:59 am
The Clark County coroner’s office has identified a man who drowned nearly 40 years ago in Lake Mead.
Donald Smith, 39, was reported missing in April 1974 after his suspected drowning. His remains were found on Oct. 17 and Oct. 19 near Callville Bay.
“The identification was based on DNA analysis and reports from the original incident,” Clark County spokesperson Stacey Welling said in a statement Tuesday.
The coroner’s office is still working to identify the remains of a person whose remains were found on Boulder Beach on July 25, Aug. 6 and Aug. 16. The remains all belonged to the same body.
Later that month, the coroner’s office identified Thomas Erndt, a 42-year-old Las Vegas man who drowned in 2002. His remains were found in May near Callville Bay. The coroner’s office could not determine his cause and manner of death.
The coroner’s office did not provide an update Tuesday to the most publicized discovery at Lake Mead, the body of a male shooting victim found in a barrel at Hemenway Harbor.
“The process for identifying the remains 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,” Welling wrote in Tuesday’s statement.
Contact Sabrina Schnur at email@example.com or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter.