Did government agencies destroy human bones found at Lake Mead?

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — What happened to a bone found at Lake Mead remains unclear and the National Park Service is not providing answers.

The 8 News Now I-Team repeatedly emailed the agency seeking clarification, and those emails went unanswered.

In July 2021, the Barker family was recreating in an area known as South Cove, where the Colorado River begins to form the lake.

Bruce Barker’s granddaughter, Kimmie, has made a discovery. “I was like, ‘Oh look at that!’ And then I went to see my grandfather and I said to him “Grandfather, look what I found!” Kimmie Barker told 8 News Now I-Team.

Barker said the bone appeared to be a human femur and the family later contacted the National Park Service.

“I was hoping it would actually be a human femur and they could do some DNA and get someone to understand what might have happened, maybe their loved ones.” he declared.

But the 8 News Now I-Team learned that never happened.

The I-Team contacted the National Park Service several times and only after reporting to the Boulder City office was an email sent stating that medical authorities had determined the bone was not human. .

Law enforcement at Lake Mead National Recreation Area responded to a call from a visitor in July 2021 regarding the discovery of a bone on the Arizona side of the park. When officials met with the visitor to take a witness statement, rangers realized the scene had been disrupted as the individual had removed the bone from the immediate area. After an initial assessment of the area, no additional bone remains were found. The bone was deposited in the park and the medical examiner’s office was contacted. Due to the approximate size and structure of the bone joint, medical authorities determined that the bone was not human. Lake Mead NRA urges any visitors who may discover remains not to touch or disturb the area, but to call Park Dispatch (702-293-8998) to provide a description of the object and their approximate location so rangers can can reach the scene quickly to establish a perimeter and begin an investigation.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area

An official with the Mohave County Medical Examiner’s Office said the office sent a photo to a forensic anthropologist who said it was an animal bone and the bone had been destroyed .

The official said there was no documentation and declined to provide the name of the forensic anthropologist.

The bureau chief also said there was no trace of the bone.

Based on the data you provided, there are no cases linked to the Mohave County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Mohave County Medical Examiner’s Office

It remains unclear whether the National Park Service sent a photo of the bone to the medical examiner’s office or turned over the bone.

Repeated attempts by the I-Team for clarification went unanswered.

Two board-certified medical examiners reviewed the photos of the bone. Both Dr Alison Galloway and Dr Marin Pilloud said the bone is a human femur.

Dr. Galloway also said that in their field of work, documentation is vital. “If I get a case and it’s not human, it stays in my logbook. I still keep the emails or I keep the text messages, but I received them, so that’s a problem,” she said.

Ashley C. Reynolds