On 28th August 2019, a Florida property surveyor was using Google Maps to look at a housing development called Grand Isles of land in Moon Bay Circle when he saw a submerged car in a lake. Not wanting to get involved, the surveyor contacted someone he knew locally and passed on the possible find. Police were quickly contacted and the discovery was confirmed, there was a white car in the lake which no one had noticed before. The heavily calcified car was extracted from the water, and within a week a positive identification was made by the medical examiner’s office.
The skeletal remains were of William Moldt (40) who went missing in November 1997 after a night out. On the night in question, he left the club after a few drinks, phoned his girlfriend at around 11.30pm to tell her he would be home shortly, and then seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth.
A missing persons case was launched but went cold and there was no indication of where he might have gone. Whilst police can’t be completely sure, they believe that it’s likely he lost control of the car whilst driving as a result of his alcohol consumption and ended up in the lake as there’s no evidence to indicate foul play and his friends confirmed he wasn’t a regular drinker. What’s incredible is the car has actually been visible on Google Maps since 2007, but wasn’t spotted until 2019.
This isn’t the only instance of this happening, in 2015, a man named Brian Houseman was decorating a Christmas tree outside of Cook Funeral Home in Michigan when he thought he saw something in the nearby pond. Further investigation showed it to be a car that went missing in October 2006 belonging to Davie Lee Niles who, you guessed it, was still inside.
The 72-year-old was last seen leaving a Jake’s Bar where he’d met a friend. In 2011, his family published an obituary for Davie which read “David Lee Niles, age 72, of Wyoming, passed away and only God knows the time and place.” (express.co.uk). Thankfully they now have some closure on what happened. As with William Moldt, Davie’s death isn’t being treated as suspicious. Davie’s car had also been clearly visible on Google Maps in the water, but no one saw it.
Another time the police were called to investigate because of Google Maps was when it appeared someone was disposing of a dead body in a lake in the Netherlands. However, it was determined to be completely innocent – a man walking his dog. The dog had jumped in the lake which resulted in the ‘blood trail’, and the wood the dock was made from happened to look red when wet. It is easy to see how someone might think something more serious had happened.
It does make you wonder, how many other unsolved cases might have solutions on Google Maps?