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 sent emails to the agency asking for clarification, and those emails have gone unanswered.

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

Bruce Barker’s granddaughter Kimmie made a discovery. “I was like, ‘Oh look at that!” And then I went off to my grandpa and I go ‘Grandpa, look what I found!” Kimmie Barker told the 8 News Now I-Team.

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

“My hope was that it would actually be a human femur and they could do some DNA and get somebody closure on what may have happened, maybe their loved ones,” he said. 

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

The I-Team reached out to the National Park Service multiple times and only after showing up at the Boulder City office, an email was sent stating that medical officials determined the bone was not human. 

Lake Mead National Recreation Area law enforcement 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 collect a witness statement, rangers realized the scene had been disturbed as the individual had removed the bone from the immediate area. After an initial assessment of the area, no additional skeletal remains were found. The bone was entered into park evidence and the Medical Examiner’s Office was contacted. Due to the approximate size and structure of the bone joint, medical officials determined the bone was not human. Lake Mead NRA urges all visitors who may discover any remains to not 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 reach the scene promptly to set a perimeter and begin an investigation.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area

A manager at the Mohave County Medical Examiner’s office said that the office sent a photo to a forensic anthropologist who said it was an animal bone and that the bone was destroyed.

The manager said there is no documentation and refused to provide the name of the forensic anthropologist.

The head of the office also said there is no record of the bone. 

Based on the data you provided there is no correlating case with 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 handed over the bone.

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

Two board-certified forensic anthropologists reviewed photos of the bone. Dr. Alison Galloway and Dr. Marin Pilloud both said that the bone is a human femur. 

Dr. Galloway also said in their line of work, documentation is vital. “If I get a case in and it’s not human, it still goes in my log book. I still retain the emails or I retain the text messages however I got that so that’s a problem,” she said.