Car with body inside, both missing since 2006, was visible on Google Maps

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BYRON CENTER, Mich. — Employees at a Michigan funeral home were using a lift to decorate a tree for the holidays when they saw the roof of a car in a nearby pond.

According to a report by FOX 17 in west Michigan, the car was pulled from the pond, in the 2000 block of 84th Street SW near Byron Center Manor, and Kent County sheriff’s deputies discovered a body inside the vehicle.

The submerged car is visible in satellite images, such as those available from Google Maps and Bing Maps. (See gallery below.)

WOOD-TV reports the body is believed to be that of Davie Lee Niles. The Kent County Sheriff’s Office is waiting for the results of DNA and dental records tests to confirm the identity of the body, but the car belonged to Niles and his wallet was also found inside.

“For us today, it’s a closure of a long search,” Niles’ son-in-law, Scott Hathaway, told WOOD-TV on Tuesday. “Why God waited nine years, I have no idea, but we’re happy.”

Kent County Sheriff’s Lt. Ron Gates told WOOD-TV it isn’t clear what happened, but they do not suspect foul play.

“I don’t know that we’re ever going to be able to determine if it’s suicide or accidental,” Gates said in an interview for WOOD-TV. “[It’s] pretty bizarre.”



    • kaitlyn W

      when you look at the 3rd picture it’s actually pretty close to 2 roads. So it’s possible it was accidental.

      • D

        It’s possible, but look at its location in the pond. There’s no way it gained enough momentum to fling it all the way to the opposite side of the water. The angle also suggest it couldn’t have come from the parking lot, or else it would be straighter in relation to the parking lot. Very odd.

  • bob

    Deliberate drowning in that manner seems a very unlikely suicide method.

    When this happened in Park City several years ago it was determined that the guy was drunk. The pond froze over that same night, and snow fell on the ice. He was missing until the following spring.

  • Kevin K.

    Wait, the reporting was a little unclear in the article– was it the employees of the funeral home that found the car, or god?

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