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Remains of man missing for 22 years found after Google Maps reveals location of sunken car

William Moldt went missing in 1997 at the age of 40.

Capture Google Maps image showing the submerged sedan. Source: Google Maps

THE REMAINS OF a man who went missing in Florida 20 years ago have been found after his submerged car was noticed on Google Maps.

The skeletal remains of William Moldt, who went missing in 1997 at the age of 40, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, were found in the white sedan. 

Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Teri Barbera said today that a previous resident of the Grand Isles neighborhood in Wellington, Florida, was checking the neighborhood on Google Earth when he zoomed into the lake and saw what looked like a car.

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

The man called the sheriff’s office on 28 August and deputies later arrived to find the white sedan’s exterior “heavily calcified.” After they got the car out, they found the skeletal remains inside.

The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System says Moldt went to a nightclub in November 1997 but did not appear intoxicated as he left alone before midnight. He had called his girlfriend from the club saying he would return to their Lantana home soon.

The subdivision was under construction when Moldt went missing, but the pond was already there. Barry Fay, who found the car, told The Palm Beach Post, that he had never noticed anything from the shoreline.

“Never did I believe there would be a 22-year-old dead body,” Fay told the newspaper. 

google-earth-missing-man William Moldt Source: TheCharleyProject

A report by the Charley Project, an online database of cold cases in the United States, said the “vehicle had plainly [been] visible on a Google Earth satellite photo of the area since 2007, but apparently no-one had noticed it until 2019″.

Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office told the BBC that Mr Moldt is presumed to have lost control of his vehicle and driven into the pond.

The force said that during the initial investigation into his disappearance there was “no evidence of that occurring” until recently, when a shift in the water made the car visible.

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

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

With reporting from Associated Press

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