THE remains of a man missing for more than two decades have been discovered inside a sunken car – after it was spotted on Google Earth.
William Moldt was 40 when he vanished off the “face of the Earth” in early November 1997 after a night out drinking at a club in Lantana, Florida.
When he failed to return home, local cops launched a missing persons investigation but the case quickly went cold and was left on file.
However, last month a former resident of Grand Isles was checking out his old home on Google Earth when he zoomed into a lake and saw what looked like a car.
He contacted the current homeowner, who used a drone to confirm it was a white saloon submerged on the edge of the water right behind his house.
Cops then pulled the car from the water and found skeletal remains inside. They were quickly identified as belonging to Mr Moldt.
Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office told the BBC that the driver is presumed to have lost control of his vehicle and careered into the water.
The force said that, during the initial investigation, there was “no evidence of that occurring” until recently, when a shift in the water made the car visible.
“You can’t determine what happened that many years ago, what transpired,” said police spokeswoman Therese Barbera.
“All we know is that he went missing off the face of the Earth, and now he’s been discovered.”
William Moldt was 40 when he went missing in early November 1997 after a night out at a club[/caption]
The vehicle was spotted on Google Earth by a man checking out his old home[/caption]
A report of the circumstances of the disappearance stated Moldt had gone to an “adult nightclub” on the evening of November 7, 1997.
“He left the night club around 23.00 hours. He did not appear intoxicated and left alone in his vehicle,” it revealed.
“Moldt was a quiet man and did not socialise much at the club. He also was not a frequent drinker but did have several drinks at the bar.
“Moldt had called his girlfriend from the bar around 2130 saying he would be home soon, and that was the last contact with him.”
According to the Charley Project, which logs cold cases, the Grand Isles housing development had been under construction at the time.
A post on the Charley Project read: “Amazingly, a vehicle had been plainly visible on a Google Earth satellite photo of the area since 2007, but apparently no one had noticed it until 2019, when a property surveyor saw the car while looking at Google Earth.”
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Barry Fay, whose home is near where the car was found, told The Palm Beach Post that he had never noticed anything from the shoreline.
“Never did I believe there would be a 22-year-old dead body,” he told the newspaper.
Mr Moldt’s family has been informed about the grisly discovery – which is still visible on Google Earth.