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‘A victim of the mob’? Photos show clothing from body found at Lake Mead

Updated June 19, 2024 - 4:07 pm

A federal website that tracks missing people has posted photos of the clothing worn by a man whose remains were found in a barrel at Lake Mead two years ago.

The body, discovered in May 2022 at Hemenway Harbor, had a gunshot wound, and the Clark County coroner’s office has said his death was a homicide.

On the website of NamUs, a federal program that tries to solve missing person cases, information is still scant. The site says the mysterious man might have been between 27 and 61 years old, between 5 feet, 6 inches and 6 feet, 1 inch tall and that it is not possible to estimate his weight.

But now, photos have been released that show the man’s sneakers, a dirty Idle Time button-down shirt, jeans and a battered digital Timex watch that’s been separated from its metal wristband.

The Metropolitan Police Department had previously said that the sneakers found with the man were Kmart shoes from the 1970s.

Geoff Schumacher, the Mob Museum’s vice president of exhibits and programs, said the clothing reflects the late 1970s era.

The late ’70s and early 1980s were a time in which the mob was active in Las Vegas and law enforcement was trying to eliminate it, he said. Some people became informants or witnesses, he said, and those who did would have been people mob leaders would have wanted to eliminate.

“It definitely suggests this person could’ve been a victim of the mob,” he said.

There’s even a similar, mob-related case from the ’70s. In 1976, mobster Johnny Roselli was found in a barrel in Florida’s Dumfoundling Bay after testifying to the Senate about his involvement in CIA plots to kill Fidel Castro.

There are some issues with the theory that the homicide victim was a mobster, however.

Schumacher said that because police have speculated the clothing was not expensive, it suggests someone without means or that the clothing was put on the body by the killers.

The size of the clothing — like pants with a 46-inch waist — also suggests a large person, he said, which “somewhat narrows the options.”

And while at least some of the clothing may be from the 70s, police have previously said the body may have been dumped in the 1980s. If that’s true, it changes the story, Schumacher said.

By the ’80s, the mob was starting to move on. If the killing was as late as 1984, it might not be related to the mob at all.

Schumacher said it was “equally possible,” compared with the mob theory, that the victim could have been involved in a “drug deal gone bad or a love triangle gone bad.”

But he said that the fact the man was found in a barrel suggests a more calculated killing than a crime of passion.

Contact Noble Brigham at nbrigham@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BrighamNoble on X.

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