Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Google Street View To The Rescue, Helps Authorities Find Kidnapping Victum

Google is reporting an interesting first, police in Virgina used Google's Street View to help successfully locate nine year old Natalie Maltais who had been kidnapped by her grandmother.

Athol, Massachusetts Police Officer Todd Neale and Deputy Fire Chief Thomas V. Lozier used GPS coordinates provided to them by cell phone providers to track Natalie Maltais and her 52-year-old grandmother Rose M. Maltais to the Budget Inn-Natural Bridge‎ Motel, in Natural Bridge, VA‎.

According to the Worcester Telegram Deputy Chief Lozier initially thought Ms. Maltais and the child were heading to Knoxville, Tenn., and he and Officer Neale were hoping to be able to tell which direction they left Knoxville which could give them an indication where their ultimate destination would be. Instead using the GPS coordinates they were able to track the calls to an intersection on Virginia Route 11 near Interstate 81 in Natural Bridge, Va.

He said coordinates kept coming in within 300 feet of each other. Giving them a strong indication that the girl and here grandmother were staying near by.

"Then I Googled it," he said, referring to using Google's Street View. Using Street View, he was able to look around the area of the intersection. From the Street View Map
Lozier looked across the field to see a long building with a red roof that looked like a motel. He then did a search on Google for motels in Natural Bridge and found the Budget Inn-Natural Bridge, which, on a map, appeared to be close to the intersection he was looking at.

According to the report he then looked at Google's satellite view of the motel and saw it was close to the intersection.
They took a chance and called the state police in Virginia and told them they felt the missing people were likely in the motel. Police arrived some time later and found the girl and her grand mother just as Lozier and Neale had suspected.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous5:15 AM

    Pretty neat to see that this story has made it's way to California. Tom Lozier is my uncle, and we're all pretty proud of him as well as Officer Neale and the rest. And a big thanks to Google, too! :)


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