Google Earth search leads to body of Florida man missing since 1997

Mr Moldt was 40 years old when	he went missing in November 1997. The remains of Mr William Moldt, missing since 1997, was found in the car submerged in a retention pond in Wellington, Florida.
The remains of Mr William Moldt, missing since 1997, was found in the car submerged in a retention pond in Wellington, Florida.PHOTO: GOOGLE EARTH

WASHINGTON • The remains of a Florida man who went missing more than two decades ago were found in a pond after being spotted on Google Earth, the authorities have said.

The body of Mr William Moldt, who was reported missing on Nov 8, 1997, was recovered and positively identified on Tuesday, the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post on Thursday.

"A previous resident living in Grand Isles (north of Miami) was doing a 'Google search' on Google Earth in the area and noticed what appeared to be a vehicle in the pond behind a residence," the sheriff's office said.

Police said that the individual contacted a current Palm Beach resident, who, in turn, used a drone to survey the pond behind his home.

The sheriff's office said it was immediately contacted on Aug 28 after the resident confirmed the sighting.

"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," the sheriff's office said.

The remains were identified after being processed by the Medical Examiner's Office, police added.

Mr Moldt was 40 years old when	he went missing in November 1997. The remains of Mr William Moldt, missing since 1997, was found in the car submerged in a retention pond in Wellington, Florida.
Mr Moldt was 40 years old when he went missing in November 1997.

The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System said Mr Moldt, who was aged 40 when he went missing, went to a nightclub in November 1997 but did not appear intoxicated when he left the club alone before midnight.

He had called his girlfriend from the club saying he would return to their Lantana home soon.

The subdivision was under construction when Mr Moldt went missing, but the pond was already there.

Mr 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," Mr Fay told the newspaper.

DPA, ASSOCIATED PRESS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2019, with the headline 'Google Earth search leads to body of Florida man missing since 1997'. Print Edition | Subscribe