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Remains of man missing for 22 years found on Google Earth

Remains of man missing for 22 years found on Google Earth
Body of missing man found 22 years later after submerged car spotted …

The body of a man who had disappeared without trace was found, by chance, thanks to Google Earth.

William Moldt was reported missing from Lantana, Florida, on 7 November, 1997, after he failed to return home from a night out.

At around 9.30pm that evening, the 40-year-old called his girlfriend to tell her he’d be home soon.

But it was to be the last time they ever spoke – he never made it back.

Police swiftly launched a missing person investigation but the case eventually went cold, and for more than two decades, Moldt’s loved ones were left without answers.

William Earl Moldt probably lost control of his car and drove into the large pond(The Charley Project)

However, in August 2019 – 22 years after the disappearance – a previous resident of Grand Isles neighbourhood in Wellington, Florida, was checking out his former home on Google Earth when he noticed something strange in a large pond.

He zoomed in to see what looked like a car, and so contacted the person living in the house bordering the lake to ask them to investigate.

The homeowner, named Barry Fay, duly obliged and, by flying a drone over the area, was able to confirm that there was, indeed, a white car hidden beneath the surface.

Fay called the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office who sent deputies to the scene.

Pulling out the white sedan, they noted that it had “obviously [been in] the water for a significant amount of time". And after opening its doors they found Moldt’s skeletal remains inside.

The car had been visible on Google Earth for 12 years before it was spotted by chance(The Charley Project/Google Earth)

Fay told The Palm Beach Post that he’d assumed it was just some “junked-up old car”.

"Never did I believe there would be a 22-year-old dead body," he admitted.

Perhaps the most chilling, and painful, aspect of the case is that the car had been visible on Google Earth since 2007, according to a report by the Charley Project, an online database of cold cases in the US.

And yet, it took another 12 years for someone to open their eyes and spot it.

The sheriff's office told the BBC in 2019 that Moldt had most probably lost control of his vehicle and driven into the pond, though witnesses said he didn't seem drunk when he left the nightclub.

The force insisted that when the investigation into his disappearance was first launched the car was not visible, and was only thanks to a more recent shift in the pond’s waters that the vehicle could be seen.

"You can't determine what happened that many years ago, what transpired," police spokesperson Teri Barbera told the news site.

"All we know is that he went missing off the face of the Earth, and now he's been discovered."

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