Police searching for body missed it for 18 months because of Google Maps mistake

Incorrect boundaries on app lead to search only covering half required area

Wednesday 02 January 2019 11:48
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Rural land in Laidley Creek West, Queensland
Rural land in Laidley Creek West, Queensland

Police were unable to find a missing body for 18 months because they used incorrect Google Maps data, an inquiry has found.

Darrell Simon went missing in November 2014, 50 miles west of Brisbane, Australia.

Authorities were notified that the 46-year-old was missing and searched his rural property in Laidley Creek West.

They printed out an image from Google Maps to determine the boundaries but the map in question was incorrect.

The error meant that those searching for Simon only covered half of his property as the boundaries online were wrong.

“The fact the ground search was conducted over only half the property was very regretful and should not have happened,” Queensland deputy state coroner John Lock said, according to the BBC.

Mr Lock recommended that future searches use high-quality GPS and mapping data instead of Google Maps.

Simon’s remains were found on the property in May 2016 and it was ruled that he had taken his own life.

The delay in finding him resulted in speculation that he had been the victim of a murder.

“One wonders if Darrell’s body was found during the first police search ... whether such unhelpful and at times clearly defamatory and untruthful speculation would have even surfaced,” the report said.

Mr Simon’s body was hidden under thick vegetation that was present at the property and was found by the property’s new owners.

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They discovered Mr Simon during a drought period when the vegetation had cleared.

Queensland police said it would be adopting the recommendations laid out in the report.

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