Lake Mead? Ha! Let Me Remind You About Lawrence Lake in Amarillo
I bet you've heard about the bodies found in Lake Mead up in Nevada.
As the lake's water level has steadily dropped, old buried surprises have started popping up. I wouldn't even be surprised if this is how we find Jimmy Hoffa.
But while Las Vegas may have Lake Mead, here in the fine city of Amarillo we've got Lawrence Lake. Give credit where credit is due.
Pro Tip: Looking to dump a body or weapon? Don't go to Lawrence Lake.
I don't know why I said "pro tip". It's not like I have ever tried to dispose of a body. So don't look at me, Amarillo Police. I have, though, watched enough Investigation Discovery Channel to know a thing or two.
I've also lived in Amarillo long enough to know these two rules of thumb:
1. Steal a car? Dump it in Martin Road Lake.
2. Commit a crime? Toss the evidence in Lawrence Lake.
I'm not saying they're great rules, but they're there.
Where is Lawrence Lake?
It's that little lake next to Discount Tire on I-40 and Western. If you are old like me you will remember that is the area where the old SRO was located. Yes, that eyesore of a lake.
That ugly pit was once the largest natural playa in the area. It also floods at the drop of a hat if we get heavy rains--just ask any old timer about the flood back in the 80s.
There's a bunch of pumps and fancy city engineering in place to prevent flooding. But as of right now, the water level is getting awfully low...just like Lake Mead.
Oh, I wonder what might pop up. Who knows, but I sure know what they've found in Lawrence Lake before.
Cold Case Solved
In October 2007, a young woman was shot and killed at the wood chipping plant on Eastern street. Two suspects were arrested shortly after but the trial didn't take place until 2011. Why? It took that long to find all the pieces of the murder weapon.
One such piece was found when they dredged Lawrence Lake.
The Dixon Love Triangle
Remember the wild murder-for-hire love triangle where Dr. Thomas Michael Dixon paid "businessman" David Shepard three bars of silver to kill Dr. Joseph Sonnier of Lubbock?
Guess where Shepard had tossed the gun he used? According to trial coverage in 2014, there was testimony from "a member of the Amarillo Police Department dive team responsible for retrieving a gun from Lake Dunivan also known as Lawrence Lake in Amarillo."
Now, this one is straight from memory. I couldn't find an article to back me up; but I swear that sometime in the early 2000s, they dredged the lake and found quite a few disassembled gun parts--and one disembodied human toe.
Two More Unpleasant Finds
Sadly, I found two separate reports of a body pulled from Lawrence Lake. One was a 14-year-old boy who drowned and the other was a 27-year-old woman who had been missing for two weeks. Both deaths had unclear circumstances surrounding them.
Look, this is the lake that former City Manager John Ward described in an interview as "the more water you pump out of the lake, the uglier it gets."
Look, even those geese are leaving the lake and walking to a better location. The lake has never and will never be a pretty place. And right now, there is not enough water in it to hide anything. Anymore, at least.
As I said before....Vegas has Lake Mead, Amarillo's got Lawrence Lake. For better or worse.