Google Earth helps solve the mystery of decades-old US disappearance

Clay Curtis
September 13, 2019

The remains of a man who went missing more than two decades ago have been found after his vehicle was spotted on Google Earth submerged in a lake. Deputies were called out to Palm Beach County retention pond August 28 on a report of a submerged auto; inside the vehicle were skeletal remains that, the sheriff's office says, were identified as Moldt on Tuesday.

His remains were found inside the submerged vehicle last month in a pond in Wellington, near Palm Beach, after the manager of The Grand Isles housing development spotted them on Google Earth, Newsweek reports.

The former resident contacted a current homeowner, who used a drone to confirm it was a white vehicle on the edge of the pond behind his house.

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

According to The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, Moldt had gone to the Adult Night Club on the evening of November 7, 1997, and left around 11 p.m. The exterior of the vehicle was heavily calcified and had apparently been submerged for a very long time, PBSO said.

William Moldt never returned home after a night out at a nightclub.

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According to the Charley Project, which keeps an online list of missing people, the auto was first spotted by someone looking at images on Google Earth.

Barbera said the medical examiner's office positively identified the remains.

The Palm Beach Sheriff's Office did not give any details on Moldt's family.

After his missing persons case went cold, his body was finally recovered after his auto was spotted on Google Earth.

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

Moldt reportedly did not appear intoxicated that night and left alone in his vehicle. He had called his girlfriend from the bar at around 9:30 say he would be home soon, and that was the last contact she had with him.

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