Google Earth spots American buried in his car 22 years ago

A casual search on Google Earth, a few quick phone calls and a survey using a personal drone led three neighbours in Florida to a nearby pond where a man missing since 1997 lay buried inside his car, reports say.

The Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office pulled the white car along with the skeletal remains of 40-year-old William Moldt from the retention pond in the Grand Isles neighbourhood in Wellington on Aug 28.

Moldt, a mortgage broker, went missing after he left a night club around 11pm on Nov 8, 1997. Before leaving the club, he called his girlfriend around 9pm asking her to join him at his home later in the night.

Moldt never reached home. His car drove into the pond near his home as there was no barrier in place to stop it.

A search was launched but the police could not find him and case remained a mystery until last month.

A former resident of Grand Isles was searching on Google Earth when the retention pond near his old home drew his attention. On zooming in, he found what appeared to be a submerged white car.

The man immediately called his former wife, who still lives in the Grand Isles neighbourhood, and told her what he saw.

The woman called Barry Fay, the current owner of Moldt’s home, and alerted him about the submerged car.

Fay visited the pond behind his backyard but could not find anything. He then sought the help of a neighbour who owns a drone. The neighbour flew his drone fitted with a camera over the pond and the submerged car was spotted. Fay immediately called the Palm Beach police.