Google Rushing to Replace Maps Satellite Image Showing Murdered Teen


Google has agreed to replace a Google Maps satellite image of a Richmond, California railroad yard that may show the body of a murdered teenager.

The body of Kevin Barrera, 14, was found near some Richmond railroad tracks in 2009, beaten and shot to death. His father was perusing Google Maps last week when he stumbled upon a satellite image of the area that shows police examining what appears to be a body. Based on the location, Barrera believes it’s his son and began lobbying Google to replace it with a current image.

(Out of respect for the family, we decided to blur out the body in the above image. Click here if you would like to see the whole thing.)

Exactly what the map segment shows is unclear, as it’s watermarked with a 2011 date, two years after Barrera’s killing. Richmond has a per-capita murder rate that perennially ranks as one of the nation’s highest, so it’s entirely possible the body could be somebody else killed around the same spot two years later.

Brian McClendon, vice president of Google Maps, said in a written statement reported by CNN that the company would replace the image with a current one as soon as possible, but it might take as long as eight days.

“Our hearts go out to the family of this young boy,” he wrote. “Google has never accelerated the replacement of updated satellite imagery from our maps before, but given the circumstances we wanted to make an exception in this case.”

Google routinely blurs out faces, license plates and other identifying details in Google Maps and Street View images, along with offensive content reported by users, but re-photographing a scene is highly unusual.

(via CNN)

  • nick

    Why was he perusing the images? The father stated it brought up memories seeing the images, but I think he instigated that fact.

  • Crissa

    Does it matter why?

    Personally, I’d ask them to retain the image, since it would mean he would be there a bit longer…

  • John Snape

    There is a house in town that I know someone who died in it. It always brings me heartache when I see it. So I did the only sensible thing: I don’t go look at the house! Is it really that difficult?

  • harumph

    You’re really going to blame the father for finding it? Jesus. First of all, the guy lives in Richmond, so what possible reason could he have for looking at a map of Richmond, right? Secondly, it’s a picture of a dead body! It shouldn’t be on google maps no matter who found it.

  • harumph

    Is it really that difficult to remove a picture of a dead kid from Google maps?

  • Kyle Gray

    Some people have no lives but to browse Google Maps in hopes they find something that will go “viral”.

  • dbroncos5280

    The father wasn’t look for it, a TV station found it an notified the family.

  • MattB81

    They’re taking the step to re-shoot the image, which does take time it’s all based on satellites – the question is why not just photoshop it out. I mean lets be honest a little clone stamp tool and it’s done…

  • Brixton

    Seeing a house where a friend died is not the same as seeing your friend’s dead body. HUGE difference. Also, google maps won’t leave the house off the map, crime happens all over the world, you can’t blot out the locations. You can however blot out the actual people and not have them on there for all to see.