Google Maps helps solve decades-old missing man mystery

Cheryl Sanders
September 13, 2019

William Earl Moldt left a South Florida nightclub on November 8, 1997.

Submerged in the corner of a retention pond in Wellington, Florida, rested a vehicle that was heavily calcified and clearly had been in the water for a long time.

His family finally have closure now, after a local property surveyor from the Florida town, browsing Google Maps satellite images of his neighborhood, spotted a vehicle partially submerged in a pond behind a nearby house. There was a vehicle in that pond.

"That previous resident contacted the current resident living on Moon Bay Circle and advised he noticed what appears to be a vehicle in a pond behind his home", according to the police statement. Pulling the vehicle from the water, they found it heavily calcified with the body of Mr Moldt inside. But that changed last month-thanks to Google Earth, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.


The former resident, who was not identified by police, then contacted a current resident that lives adjacent from the submerged object.

Fay was skeptical, so he called a neighbor who operates a drone. The neighbour asked Fay whether he knew about it.

Upon hauling it out the water, the remains were discovered and handed to the medical examiner's office to process them and get an identity.

If investigators can use the data to identify a specific device they think may belong to a suspect or witness, Google will reveal their name, email and other info, according to the report.


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

According to the Charley Project, which profiles unsolved missing people cases in the U.S., Grand Isles at Wellington was under construction at the time of Moldt's disappearance.

The police launched a missing person investigation, but the case went cold, with no new evidence emerging to aid in locating Moldt.

"All we know is that he went missing off the face of the Earth, and now he's been discovered". The site also says Moldt "was not a frequent drinker but did have several drinks at the bar".


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