Solving a murder with Google Earth

On January 24, 2006, Jennifer Kesse vanished. The police quickly determined that she was abducted, but nothing solid has turned up in the past four years. Not long after that, a website was set up to help spread information about the case.

A tip recently came in saying her body was buried in a field in Orlando, Florida. The police conducted a massive search of the field, but came up empty. The field is very large, about 15 acres, and the body could be anywhere in there.

During this time, users on her site discussed the new events and came to a stunning revelation: using Google Earth’s historical imagery, they found an image from approximately one month after she disappeared. The image seems to show some promising information:

Jennifer Kesse - Field

The area in question can be found here.

They contacted us and we’ve touched base with Google to see if any other imagery was available during that time. As suspected, Google had no other imagery available because they have already put all of that imagery into Google Earth (much of it via “historical imagery”).

However, this was enough for the police to go on. They plan to dig in that area based on this new information. There’s no telling if this will amount to anything, but it’s certainly an interesting use of the historical imagery.

We’ll keep you posted if anything comes out of that.

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.


  1. Kévin Girard says:

    This is a very interesting use of the historical layer. Good luck 😉

  2. wow, this is indeed some amazing research and usage of Google Earth! Great Post. I hope this could be used as evidence in convicting the person who did the crime. Keep us updated.

  3. alphamone says:

    wow, whoever did this is probably going to be very, very nervous once he or she hears about this.
    Also, this just shows how good google earth is for research, as it puts multiple images in an easy to access place, which means that people doing research no longer have to make multiple requests (possibly from differant image providers), to get all the imagery they need.

  4. Technology today is truely amazing, and google is helping to pave the way. That would be incredible if this truely helped them to solve the case. Think of the future possibilities. Of course people will begin to discuss privacy invasion, which I can see, but how can you argue it when you see something like this where it could help solve a murder! I cant wait to hear more about it.

  5. Can we use Google Earth to find Bin Laden?

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