Lifestyle & Human Interest

22-Year-Old Mystery of Man's Disappearance Solved Thanks to Google Earth Photos


On the evening of Nov. 7, 1997, 40-year-old William Moldt called his girlfriend from a nightclub and told her that he would be home soon, but he never returned home.

The case wasn’t solved until a previous resident helped authorities close the case with a simple Google Earth search.

Witnesses saw Moldt leaving the club in Palm County Beach, Florida, and reported that he did not seem intoxicated, according to WPTV.

Authorities were never able to find him or his remains, leaving the family with unanswered questions for two decades.

A breakthrough came when a previous resident from Grand Isles was browsing the area on Google Earth. He noticed an odd shape, possibly a car, submerged in one of the ponds behind a row of houses.

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The former resident reached out to the current resident and notified him of his strange findings, according to Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page. The current resident then flew a drone and also saw the vehicle; he immediately contacted PBCSO.

Deputies arrived on the scene on Aug. 28 and confirmed the sighting of the car. Its exterior was “heavily calcified,” indicating that it had been in the water for a long time.

“Upon removing the vehicle skeleton remains were found inside,” the sheriff’s office wrote.

Crime Scene detectives then took over the investigation and sent the car and the skeletal remains to the Medical Examiner’s Office.

Have you ever found anything strange while searching on Google Earth?

The remains were positively identified as Moldt’s on Tuesday, just under 22 years after his disappearance.

According to Inside Edition, detectives believe he drove into the pond after losing control of his vehicle on the way home from the club.

The Florida discovery comes just weeks after a similar story in British Columbia.

Janet Farris’ remains were found in her submerged car in Griffin Lake 27 years after her disappearance. The 69-year-old woman was on her way to a wedding in Alberta before she mysteriously vanished.

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It wasn’t until a 13-year-old boy captured a photo of the vehicle with his GoPro camera that her case was solved.

Authorities also believe that Farris’ death was due to her losing control of her vehicle.

Both of these cases show how instrumental modern technologies, like Google Earth and waterproof adventure cameras, can help authorities solve mysteries from the past.

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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