LAS VEGAS (KLAS)– Human remains have been discovered
The Clark County coroner has identified human remains discovered at Lake Mead on May 7 as a 42-year-old man who drowned 20 years ago.
According to a county spokesperson, Thomas Erndt, of Las Vegas, drowned on Aug. 2, 2002.
Kayakers discovered the skeletal remains in Callville Bay on the north side of the lake. Police and park officials determined the death was not suspicious.
The identification was based on investigative information, DNA analysis and reports from the original incident, according to the spokesperson.
Earlier this month, the coroner’s office said it suspected the remains were from a person who was between 23 and 38 years old at his or her time of death. The exact cause of Erndt’s death has not been determined.
8 News Now spoke to Erndt’s sister. 20 years after it happened, she shared what happened that day on the lake.
His sister Julie shared pictures of Thomas, who lived in Las Vegas for more than 20 years. She said the past 20 years have been painful for the entire family, but they are glad to finally have some closure.
On August 2 2002, Erdnt, his two children, and two adults went boating and swimming. She said they all jumped in the water, but her brother never came back up.
Thomas Erndt was a single dad. His family says he worked very hard as an airplane mechanic for scenic airlines and had a passion for muscle cars.
Days after the drowning, the family held a memorial in their hometown of Cincinnati but were hopeful that investigators would find a body.
Clark County officials said the process for identifying remains discovered at Lake Mead includes DNA samples, which can be affected by time and environmental conditions, and comparing findings to information regarding people who have been reported missing over the years.
Julie told 8 News Now her niece and nephew provided their DNA to investigators and there a match.
Now, the family said they are still in shock about the discovery and a lot of emotions have also resurfaced.
8 News Now was also told that Erndt’s son just took engagement photos at Lake Mead, because they consider it a sacred place for the family.
The office continues to work to identify the remains of a man found deceased in a barrel in May, and two other sets of remains discovered this summer.