Are there Chicago Outfit ties to 5th skeleton found in Lake Mead's potential watery mob graveyard?

The water level at Lake Mead is lower than any time since the 1930s.

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff, Christine Tressel and Ross Weidner WLS logo
Friday, August 19, 2022
Are there Chicago Outfit ties to 5th body found in Lake Mead?
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Are there Chicago Outfit ties to a 5th body found in Lake Mead's potential watery mob graveyard? 5 dead bodies surfaced near Las Vegas in 3 months.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Five skeletons have now been found in the receding waters of Lake Mead near Las Vegas, once considered a satellite city of the Chicago Outfit.

The coroner there told the I-Team they have nothing new on identifications of any of the five skeletons that have turned up as the waterline goes down.

In three months, five bodies have surfaced 1,700 miles from Chicago. Some mob-watchers think they all could be Chicago hoodlums, or maybe none at all.

The water level at Lake Mead is lower than any time since the 1930s. The first body was found in a barrel in the spring. The person inside was dead of a gunshot wound decades ago, according to authorities. Nearby that location just this week, a gun was also found.

SEE ALSO | Is third corpse found in receding Lake Mead a missing Chicago mobster?

But with those remains and the four skeletons found since in the lake mud, law enforcement officials near Las Vegas have apparently been unable to identify the dead.

There are suspicions that the Chicago mob killed some or all of them-perhaps during the heyday of Anthony "Ant" Spilotro, who supervised Chicago Outfit rackets in Vegas in the 1970s and into the 1980s.

"There, I think it might have been a bit more likely that if you ran afoul of the Chicago Outfit, they'd take you for a ride out to the desert. Spilotro and his guys would come back, you wouldn't!" said John Binder, Chicago Outfit expert and author.

There is no shortage of possible skeletonized victims killed by the Chicago mob. More than 1,100 gangland hits are on the books at the hands of Chicago mobsters since the Roaring 1920s.

Not all of those bodies have turned up yet.

RELATED | Could the bodies found in Lake Mead be connected to the Chicago mob?

"It does lead to a lot of speculation," said John L. Smith.

The I-Team spoke with the longtime Las Vegas crime syndicate expert Smith after body number two was found in May.

"A couple of key figures in Las Vegas organized crime history disappeared, one of them being Jay Vandermark, the former slot manager at the Stardust, and the other being a fellow that I was actually was acquainted with... His name was Johnny Pappas. He was a friend of my family," Smith told the I-Team.

Chicagoan Pappas vanished in August 1976 and has never been found.