Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Lake Mead body in a barrel - update

The grisly find has all the makings of a gangland hit. Cops say the victim was shot in the head and crammed into the drum. The killers transported the barrel by boat several hundred yards out into the lake and dumped it in what was then 100 feet of water. The corpse still had a shirt, belt and shoes. Clothing was purchased in the mid to late 1970s at a Kmart. Three possible mob victims may be the body in the barrel. George 'Jay' Vandermark was a gambling machine cheater who robbed the mob's slot machine operation at the Stardust casino. William Crespo was a drug-runner who turned state's evidence after he got busted smuggling cocaine. He was set to testify against a mob-controlled casino company but was never seen again.
Leading candidate for the man in the barrel is Johnny Pappas, a man who owned a boat on Lake Mead and was a veteran Las Vegas casino host. The three men together were all linked to the most powerful Las Vegas mob operation of that time – Argent Corp., a front company that ran some of Las Vegas' top gambling operations. Argent Corp. had become a major player in Las Vegas – owning the Stardust, Hacienda and Marina hotel-casinos on the Strip, and the Fremont downtown. That leads to a likely killer. One of the most notorious enforcers in mob history, Tony Spilotro. He was involved in at least 20 mob-related murders from 1975 to 1977. Each of his victims died from a shared method — one or more point-blank shots to the head from a .22 handgun, favored because the slugs enter the skull without blowing back blood and brain matter. DNA testing may take a year.

Shoes on the man were sold at Kmart in the mid 70s.
Boaters on depleted Lake Mead spotted an old rusty barrel. Inside were bones from a man killed sometime between the mid-1970s and the early 1980s. He had been shot to death and was likely dropped from a boat far from shore.
Lake Mead and Lake Powell upstream provide water to more than 40 million people. The lake’s level has dropped so much that the uppermost water intake at Lake Mead became visible last week.
Drought over the past 20 years and increasing demand is emptying the lake.