LAS VEGAS, Nev. (KLAS) — A third set of human remains found at Lake Mead within the last year has been identified.
On Wednesday, the Clark County Coroner’s Office confirmed the remains belong to Claude Russell Pensinger, who was 52 years old when he was last seen in July 1998.
In late July 2022, swimmers found Pensigner’s remains floating near Boulder Beach. Portions of remains found on August 6 and 16 were also determined to belong to Pensigner.
Pensinger’s cause of death wasn’t immediately available.
Three other sets of human remains have been found at Lake Mead since May 2022 as the reservoir reached record-low levels.
On May 1, 2022, boaters at Lake Mead discovered a man’s body concealed in a barrel near Hemenway Harbor. County officials said the man died from a gunshot wound, with the manner of his death being homicide.
Homicide detectives have requested DNA from multiple families to help solve the case of the body in the barrel, Metro police previously told Nexstar’s KLAS. The families were chosen from several unsolved missing person cases from that time.
There is no timeline as to when the remains found inside the barrel could be identified. Who the homicide victim in the barrel is maybe even more difficult to solve. As KLAS reported last year, Metro police suspect the man was killed in the 1980s based on personal items in the barrel.
Homicide detectives would not elaborate on the person’s cause of death, or the items found, citing the ongoing investigation. Police believe the barrel was fully intact when it was dropped into the lake.
Kayakers discovered a second set of skeletal remains in May in Callville Bay. The coroner’s office identified the remains as Thomas Erndt of Las Vegas. Erndt was 42 years old when he drowned on August 2, 2002.
His sister Julie told KLAS Erndt, his two children, and two other adults went boating and swimming at Lake Mead. Erdnt never resurfaced after jumping into the water.
Authorities determined another set of skeletal remains found near Callville Bay in October belong to Donald Smith of North Las Vegas. Officials said Smith drowned in April 1974. He was 39 at the time.