Google Earth helped locate the body of a missing man 22 years ago

Google map services have occasionally made news for unusual reasons. The most recent involves Google Earth: observing the images of the service, a user identified a car at the bottom of a lake and, unintentionally, ended up unraveling the case of a man who disappeared 22 years ago.

Car found on lake via Google Earth

William Earl Moldt, then 40, went missing on November 7, 1997. He had gone to a nightclub in Lantana, Florida. At around 9:30 pm, he called his girlfriend saying he would be home soon. After that, there was no more news of him.

The mystery only began to be solved on August 28 this year, when a former resident of the Grand Isles neighborhood in Wellington, Florida, observed the region on Google Earth. As he approached a lake near his former residence, he noticed what appeared to be a car immersed in water.

Intrigued, the man sent the images to his ex-companion, who still lives there. In turn, she forwarded the images to neighbor Barry Fay, whose house is just behind the point on the lake where the car was located.

Upon arriving home, Fay went to the water, but could not see anything there. Then he had the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčasking another neighbor to fly over the area with a drone. Bingo! In the distance, the equipment’s camera managed to identify the car submerged in the lake.

The local police were notified and showed up there the same day. After the car was taken out of the water, the surprise: a person’s bone was found inside the vehicle. After two weeks of investigation, the authorities concluded that the remains belonged to William Earl Moldt.

The circumstances that caused Moldt’s car to fall into the water were unclear. Apparently, it was an accident. At the time, the housing complex in the region was still under construction.

Since Moldt had been drinking, it was at night and there were no barriers (like trees) that could hold the car, it is possible that he was unable to turn the corner near that point and advanced over the lake.

William Earl Moldt

William Earl Moldt

Apparently, a change in the water level made it only recently possible to identify the car from the top, but still only from a considerable height.

Look at these images from Google Earth history. The February 2016 record does not indicate the existence of the car. Vehicle signs only appear in the following record, dated March 2017. Note that, in this, the water level is lower:

Grand Isles, Google Earth, 2016 image

Image of February 2016

Grand Isles, Google Earth, 2016 image

March 2017 image; here it is already possible to identify the car

Police say that at the time of the disappearance, investigations found no clues that could indicate that Moldt’s vehicle had fallen into the water.

With information: Washington Post, Palm Beach Post.

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