The skeletal remains of a man who went missing 22 years ago have been found thanks to one armchair detective who noticed his submerged car in a lake while browsing Google Earth.
William Moldt vanished in 1997 at the age of 40, according to the Palm Beach County sheriff’s office.
A spokesman for the office said a previous resident of the Grand Isles neighbourhood in Wellington, Florida, where Moldt also lived, had been checking the area on Google Earth when he zoomed into the lake and saw what looked like a car.
The former resident contacted a current homeowner, who used a drone to confirm it was a white car on the edge of the pond behind his house.
The man called the sheriff’s office on August 28, and police later arrived to find the white car’s exterior “heavily calcified.” After they got the car out, they found skeletal remains inside.
The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System says Moldt went to a nightclub in November 1997 but did not appear intoxicated as he left alone before midnight.
He had called his girlfriend from the club saying he would return to their home soon.
The estate was under construction when Moldt went missing, but the pond was already there.
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.
Six years ago, Google Earth users feared they had spotted a murder scene in Holland after a shot appeared to reveal what looked like a trail of blood leading down a jetty, sparking speculation that a body had been dragged along it.
A shadowy, unidentifiable figure could be seen standing at the edge of the water in the shot, which had been taken by a Google Earth helicopter.
However, sleuths were able to discount it as a grisly murder scene – rather it was the work of a golden retriever named Rama.
Owner Jacquelina Koenen said: “When I saw the picture I realised ‘It’s my dog’. He loves the water.
“He jumps off the end of the jetty, swims round to the bridge and runs down to the edge again.
“It’s hilarious that everyone thought it was murder. But it’s great he’s now world famous.”