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Google deletes Maps satellite photos of 14-year-old's unsolved murder

Pictures haunt family, may take 8 days to remove

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Google has said it is acting quickly to remove distressing images on Google Maps, after the family of a murdered 14-year-old saw his body on the system's satellite photos.

Kevin Barrera was shot to death on the way home from school in San Francisco's East Bay area in August 2009. Last week his family was alerted to the Maps search result by local TV station KTVU: its reporters found the overhead pictures showed Kevin's body, a police patrol car, and what appears to be officers examining the scene.

"All the memories are coming back to four years ago," his father, Jose Barrera told the San Jose Mercury News on Monday. "I'm in shock."

Google responded immediately, saying it will be updating the Maps app to remove the image and says it is looking at "different technical solutions" to do so, saying it will take eight days to find a replacement to fill the hole in its coverage.

"Our hearts go out to the family of this young boy," Brian McClendon, vice-president of Google Maps, said in a statement. "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."

The case of Kevin Barrera's death has never been solved but his father says the Google image, while upsetting, may inspire the Richmond police department to take another look at the files.

"I'm going to take this time to tell police, 'Don't forget my son. Close the case,'" he said. ®

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