In August 2009, Jose Barrera’s 14-year-old son, Kevin, was found beaten and shot to death next to the railroad tracks in Richmond, Calif. Last week, Barrera had to relive his death all over again, when he learned that a Google Maps satellite image of the area included Kevin’s body.
The image in question shows police officers standing near the crime scene, and Kevin’s body next to the railroad tracks. This situation is doubly heartbreaking because Kevin’s killer was never found.
Barrera is asking that Google take the image down, for the sake of their family, and his deceased son. But according to tech analyst Rob Enderle, it might be harder than he thinks. He told KTVU:
“When they remove it for one person for one thing, then how do they not do it for others? And so they've found it easier just to say no.”
Barrera says if Google doesn’t respond to his request, he’ll reach out to lawmakers. According to the blog Richmond Confidential, between February and October 2009, six people were killed near those same railroad tracks.
Google did not respond to a request for comment.
Update: Google has agreed to remove the image in question. Brian McClendon, vice president of Google Maps, sent the following statement to media outlets:
"Our hearts go out to the family of this young boy. 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."
Update 2: Google has replaced the section of the map showing Kevin's body with an image from 2013.
Photo via Jannes Pockele/Flickr