Google Earth solves missing persons case - after 22 years

Google Earth has helped solve a missing person case --- 22 years after the man disappeared.

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William Moldt went missing in November of 1997, according to the Charley Project, which shares details on missing people. His fate remained a mystery until someone recently spotted a car submerged in a Florida lake while looking at Google satellite photos.

The man who spotted the car, a former resident, then called someone who lives in the neighborhood, who checked it out with a drone, Teri Barbera of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office told FOX Business. That person then called the authorities.

After the car was pulled from the lake, officials found remains inside that were identified as Moldt, according to the Charley Project. The car had actually been visible on Google Earth photos since 2007, but it was apparently not visible from the lakeshore.

The neighborhood where Moldt was found had been under construction when he disappeared, according to the Charley Project.

This wasn’t the first time Google satellite photos have helped solve a mystery. In 2015, the Daily Mail reported a Michigan man who’d been missing since 2006 was found after someone spotted his car in a pond where it had been visible on Google Maps for years.

Google’s location data have also helped authorities solve crimes, according to the Hacker News. When law enforcement officials obtain a warrant for location data, the company sends investigators a list of anonymous devices that were near a crime scene.

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.