Google Earth satellite photo helps crack Florida missing person case from 1997

Remains Of Man Missing For 20 Years 'Found On Google Earth'

The remains of a man who went missing two decades ago in Florida have been found in a submerged vehicle visible on Google Maps. He had called his girlfriend at about 9:30PM, telling her he would be home soon, but was never seen or heard from again. But that changed last month-thanks to Google Earth, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.

40-year-old William Moldt went missing in 1997, and his disappearance had remained a mystery for all of 22 years.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office say Moldt was reported missing in November 1997 but that the case had gone cold.

Sheriff's office spokeswoman Teri Barbera said on Thursday that a previous resident of the Grand Isles neighborhood in Wellington, Florida, was checking the neighborhood on Google Earth when he zoomed into the lake and saw what looked like a vehicle.

That person called the current resident on Moon Bay Circle to tell him that there appeared to be a vehicle behind his home, deputies said in a Facebook post.

According to The Charley Project - an online database that collects information on United States cold cases - it was possible to see the auto on Google for more than a decade.

A white auto can be seen in the top left corner of the murky pond.

Police said that the individual contacted a current Palm Beach resident, who in turn used a drone to survey the pond behind his home.


Barry Fay couldn't believe what a neighbor was telling him: Google Earth showed a vehicle rotting at the bottom of a pond behind his home.

When the vehicle was pulled from the water, skeletal remains were found inside.

The remains were identified as Moldt's on Tuesday, the sheriff's office announced late Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office told the news outlet that "Moldt is presumed to have lost control of his vehicle and driven into the pond".

"You can't determine what happened that many years ago, what transpired", police spokesperson Therese Barbera said.

Although he was not a frequent drinker, on that particular evening he had several drinks at the bar.

The auto had been driven into a man-made lake on a housing estate, which was under construction at the time he vanished.

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