Twenty-two years ago the case of the disappearance of William Moldt was hopeless… Last month it was solved by a free website and a hobby drone.
It all started when Wellington, Florida resident Barry Fay was told by a neighbor that there was a car in the pond behind his house.
It couldn’t be seen from the ground, but the satellite photo view on Google Maps showed what clearly appeared to be the outline of a car just below the surface of the murky water, a few feet from the shore.
Fay called another neighbor who had a hobby drone with a camera attached — they flew it just above the pond for a better view and sure enough, identified a car.
The 50-year-old, who had lived in the gated community just over a year, called the police, who confirmed the presence of a submerged vehicle and pulled out a white 1994 Saturn SL — as well as the skeletal remains of its owner.
On Wednesday the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the body in the car was William Moldt, a resident of nearby Lake Worth, who had been missing since 1997.
According to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, Moldt was last heard from on November 7, 1997 when he told his girlfriend he was on his way back from a nightclub and would be home soon.
It appears Moldt had been there in his car ever since. A spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Office told the Sun-Sentinel:
“The vehicle’s exterior was heavily calcified and was obviously in the water for a significant amount of time.”
At the time of Moldt’s disappearance, the neighborhood would have still been under construction. It’s possible he could have driven off the road and into a pond and no one would have heard it happen.
Florida’s Department of Transportation data lists 168 water-related deaths from car accidents just between the years of 2011 and 2016; and according to NAMUS’ missing persons description, Moldt was seen having “several drinks at the bar.”
Unfortunately the exact events of that night may never be cleared up any more than they are now. A Sheriff’s Office spokesperson admitted to the BBC:
“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.”
Apparently the satellite photo on Google Maps has been on the Internet since 2007; while others in the area may have noticed the car before — clearly someone told Fay — no one had ever thought to report it before.
You can look for yourself. It’s near the 3700 block of Moon Bay Circle in Wellington, Florida.
One can’t help but wonder about the many other small bodies of water in the area…
[Image via Google Maps/Paramount Pictures/YouTube.]
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