Claude Russell Pensinger: Officials identify human remains found at Lake Mead as man missing since 1998

Claude Russell Pensinger: Officials identify human remains found at Lake Mead as man missing since 1998
(Representational picture, Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA: The skeletal remains of a 52-year-old man, who went missing in 1998, were discovered in Nevada's almost-dry Lake Mead. The county medical examiner's office determined that the remains were of Las Vegas resident Claude Russell Pensinger.

Pensinger's remains on three different days in 2022, July 25, August 6 and August 16, on the shores of Boulder Beach, on the Nevada side of the reservoir north of Hoover Dam, officials said, per NBC


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Who is Claude Russell Pensinger?

Clark County said in a statement that so far, they had not yet identified Pensinger's cause of death. According to a July 20, 1998, Las Vegas Review-Journal article, he was fishing when he went missing from his boat, which was later discovered going round the lake.


Numerous sets of human remains were discovered when Lake Mead's water levels went down, including a string of finds in May 2022. Among the remains found, officials have established that one of them was an obvious homicide. The victim's remains were discovered in a 50-gallon drum in Hemenway Harbor and officials stated they were fatally shot. On October 17 and October 19, 2022, the remains of Donald P Smith, a resident of North Las Vegas, Nevada, were discovered. The medical examiner's office concluded that Smith drowned as a result of an accident in 1974, as reported by NBC.

On May 7, 2022, authorities discovered Thomas Erndt's remains. He was said to have drowned in the lake in 2002, but the cause of death and how it happened is still unknown.


Hoping for 'full pool'

Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the US when it is at "full pool." After a drought that has lasted more than 20 years, the level of the reservoir has reportedly come down. According to the Interior Department's statement earlier, "unprecedented water shortages" may occur in the Colorado River Basin.

By building the Hoover Dam, which was completed in 1935, it was possible to create Lake Mead. According to the National Park Service, 97% of its water comes from the Colorado River, with 3% from other sources. As scorching temperatures in the Southwest have dried up Lake Mead and other drought-stricken bodies of water, many such human remains have been discovered, reopening several cold cases, as reported by 10WBNS.

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 Who was Claude Russell Pensinger? Officials identify remains found at Lake Mead as man missing since 1998