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19th Apr 2024

Man missing for 22 years was found in pond after his car was found on Google Maps


Missing Person

William Moldt went missing in November 1997 after leaving a Florida nightclub

A man whose disappearance has remained a mystery for more than two decades has finally been solved – with the help of Google Maps.

William Moldt went missing on November 8, 1997 after leaving a nightclub in Lantana, Florida. He was said to have phoned his girlfriend at 9.30pm to tell her he was on his way home, but he never made it.

Some 20-odd years later, someone noticed a submerged vehicle in a pond in Wellington, near Palm Beach, on Google Maps, and reported it to police.

The vehicle was removed from the lake and the remains of Moldt were inside, with a medical examiner confirming the identity back in 2019.

Missing Person
Google Maps

The location was only a construction site when the missing persons report was filed, but the development has since grown, leading the manager of The Grand Isles housing development to spot the car.

The Charley Project, an online database collecting information on US cold cases, says it’s possible the car was visible on Google Maps for more than 10 years.

It writes: “Amazingly, the vehicle had been plainly visible on a Google Earth satellite image 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.”

Police spokeswoman Therese Barbera said at the time: “You can’t determine what happened that many years ago, what transpired.

“All we know is that he went missing off the face of the Earth, and now he’s been discovered.”