Florida man accidentally discovers missing person using Google Earth

ABOVE: Man missing since 1997 found after Google Earth shows his vehicle underwater

Most people use Google Earth for directions — not to solve the 20-year-old mystery of a Florida man who didn’t come home one night.

However, a property surveyor recently cracked such a case after finding a vehicle submerged in water on Google Earth.

When William Moldt, 40, failed to come home after going clubbing in 1997, he was reported missing.

Though a missing person investigation was launched by police on Nov. 7 of that year, the case went cold after no one could find him.

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According to the Charley Project, an online cold-case database, a submerged white car was spotted in murky green water on Aug. 28, 2019, in an aerial view of Moon Bay Circle in Wellington, Fla. — 22 years after Moldt went missing.

“Amazingly, vehicle had been plainly visible on a Google Earth satellite photo of the area since 2007, but apparently, no one had noticed it until 2019,” the Charley Project said in a statement.

According to the cold-case database, the incredible discovery was made by a property surveyor who was performing an innocent Google Earth search. The BBC reports that, according to local police, it was a previous resident of the area who found the car while “doing a Google search.”

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

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

Google Earth

A spokesperson for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office told ABC 10 the car was heavily calcified when found. It was removed from the water, and a week later, skeletal remains found in the car were positively identified as Moldt.

The anonymous discoverer reportedly contacted someone he knew living in the area, who then proceeded to investigate using a drone before contacting the police.

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It’s believed the deceased lost control of his car and drove into the pond, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office told the BBC.

“You can’t determine what happened that many years ago, what transpired,” police spokesperson Therese Barbera said.

“All we know is that he went missing off the face of the earth, and now he’s been discovered.”

According to the BBC, Barbera added that police were unaware of the discovery’s connection to Google Maps.

The publication reports the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System said Moldt left the club at around 11 p.m., calling his girlfriend a half-hour later to tell her he would be home soon.

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“He also was not a frequent drinker but did have several drinks at the bar,” the report reads.

Moldt’s family has reportedly been told about the discovery, the BBC says.

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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