By Susanna Speier
Denver Private Investigator Blogger
Private investigators specializing in legal investigations frequently integrate Google Earth and other forms of aerial imagery into their investigations. A related story broke last night that is being lauded being lauded by publications worldwide as a landmark case because it lead to a case being solved accidentally when a West Palm Beach cold case was unearthed by a discovery made while someone looking at his old neighborhood.
According to the Sheriff's office Facebook page September 10th news release, "the remains were positively identified as William Moldt," after his heavily calcified car was dragged out of the lake it was found in. The accidental Google Earth discovery lead to the skeletal remains of someone who disappeared in 1997.
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At the time of Moldt's 1997 disappearance the gated community was under construction but a little over two decades later, a former resident noticed a vehicle submerged in a lake on his computer screen. Using Google Earth's aerial map of his old neighborhood, he spied the car in the lake and informed a former neighbor and current resident of the community. That neighbor borrowed another neighbor's drone to more closely investigate.
They contacted the property owners and then finally, the police who brought in a tow line which they used to bring the remains to Palm Beach County Medical Examiner’s Office for processing. The body was identified as William Earl Moldt who was reported missing in November 1997.
Stories of citizen sleuths uncovering calcified cars using private investigator technologies isn't limited to Google Earth. Last week a child in Vancouver, British Columbia solved a 27 year old cold case this way.
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Google Earth software which was developed by a CIA backed initiative and eventually acquired by Googlemaps, has been used to solve other cases and The Daily Dot provided accounts of these scenarios of cases solved with Google Earth. You can view their list which is toggled to another crime story, here.
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