The body of a Florida man missing for more than two decades was recently found after a property surveyor was checking out Google Maps and saw a car submerged in a pond.
William Moldt was 40 when he disappeared near Lantana, Florida, on November 7, 1997. Police said he had gone out for a night of clubbing and never returned, leading to an investigation that eventually turned cold. As the BBC noted, the break in the missing person case would come 22 years later when someone noticed that a car could be seen in a Google Maps picture originally taken and published in 2007.
As the report noted, the surveyor who noticed the submerged car called police, and the vehicle was pulled out of the water with Moldt’s skeletal remains inside. It took close to a week for the remains to be positively identified as belonging to the long-missing man, finally giving closure to his family after his mysterious disappearance.
Police said they believe that Moldt lost control of his car and crashed into the pond, which is located in a development that includes many winding streets and shallow ponds. They added that there was no evidence of the submerged car at the time he went missing, but a more recent shift in the water levels left it visible from above.
“You can’t determine what happened that many years ago, what transpired,” police spokeswoman Therese Barbera said.
This is not the first time that Google Maps has helped find a long-missing person. As The Inquisitr reported, a 72-year-old man who went missing back in 2006 was found nine years later when someone spotted his car submerge in a pond near a funeral home in Michigan. Police later identified the body as missing man David Lee Niles, who had left a bar shortly before he went missing.
The car was actually first spotted by a maintenance worker who was putting up some Christmas lights. Later it was confirmed to have been visible on Google Maps for years, though no one had noticed it.
Police followed up on the tip of the submerged car and found the missing man inside after it was pulled from the water.
“A wrecker was contacted and pulled the vehicle out of the pond. Located behind the steering wheel was human remains, mostly skeletal. Also found in the vehicle was a wallet belonging to the missing person,” noted the Kent County Sheriff’s Department in an official statement.