The body of William Moldt, a 40-year-old Florida man who was reported missing in November of 1997, has been found. And it’s all thanks to Google Maps, strangely enough.
Barry Fay, a 50-year-old resident of Wellington, Florida, called the police after a neighbor told him there was a car in the pond behind his house that could be seen from Google Maps. Fay didn’t believe his neighbor at first, but he enlisted a friend with a hobby drone to hover over the pond and see for himself. Sure enough, there was a car in there, and police officers came to pull out the white 1994 Saturn SL with Moldt’s skeleton inside.
“I called the former owner of my house and asked if she knew about this,” Fay told the Sun Sentinel. “She was shocked.”
The skeleton was found at the 3700 block of Moon Bay Circle in Wellington, Florida, part of a housing development called the Grand Isles. The gated community had been under construction at the time of Moldt’s disappearance in 1997, according to the Charley Project, a cold case investigation community.
“Upon arrival deputies confirmed there was a vehicle in the pond,” the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement posted to Facebook. “The vehicle’s exterior was heavily calcified and was obviously in the water for a significant amount of time. Upon removing the vehicle skeleton remains were found inside.”
“On September 10, 2019, the remains were positively identified as William Moldt, who was reported missing on November 8, 1997.”
As the Charley Project notes, the car has been visible on Google Earth since at least 2007 thanks to the company’s satellite mapping software.
Investigators still have no idea what happened to Moldt, who went missing after visiting a nightclub 22 years ago. Moldt had called his girlfriend around 9:30pm to tell her that he was on his way home but was never heard from again. Some speculate that he may have had too much to drink, but he wasn’t known as a heavy drinker.
Apparently a lot of cars are sitting in America’s lakes, ponds, and canals, especially in Florida. Authorities discovered six cars in the Boca Rio canal one day in 2017 after they lowered the water level in preparation for a hurricane. One of the vehicles, a Toyota RAV4, contained the remains of a 47-year-old woman named Loraine Pino who had disappeared the year before.
The public may never learn what actually happened to Moldt if the authorities on the ground are to be believed.
“You can’t determine what happened that many years ago, what transpired,” a police spokesperson from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office told the BBC. “All we know is that he went missing off the face of the Earth, and now he’s been discovered.”