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Google Maps to remove image of Calif. murder scene

Kevin Barrera, 14, is shown in this undated file photo.
November 19, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Google Maps is replacing satellite imagery of a California murder scene following a request from the victim's family.

Kevin Barrera, 14, was shot and killed four years ago in Richmond. Friday, his family discovered a disturbing satellite image on Google Maps.

The image shows what appears to be a body on the ground near a rail line with several other people, presumably investigators, and what looks like a police car nearby.

After the story aired on local news, Barrera's family got a call from Google Maps' vice president who apologized, saying they were removing the image from Google Maps. The image was still visible as of Monday. The company said it will remain so for a little more than a week.

Barrera's body was found on a path near railroad tracks that separate North Richmond from San Pablo on Aug. 15, 2009. His slaying remains unsolved. Police believe Kevin was killed in the same spot the night before his body was found, said Richmond police Sgt. Nicole Abetkov. They have not established a motive for the slaying or identified any suspects.

The boy's father says he is grateful and hopes Google's mistake will bring attention to his son's murder case.

Google says most of its overhead images are about one to three years old, although it tries to update them regularly.

Google Maps also provides a street view function that allows people to tour areas as someone passing through them would. Street View displays images that have been gathered by Google using cameras mounted on cars, tricycles and even snowmobiles.

Some of the images have raised privacy concerns, though Google says its technology automatically blurs license plates and people's faces. It also allows users to report concerns about the images.

There is, however, no similar reporting feature for overhead imagery, according to Google.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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