USA TODAY – Karen Moore vanished from her South Florida home on eve of her 53rd birthday. The nurse was set to pick up her 8-year-old daughter from Girl Scouts camp but didn’t show after missing her shift earlier that day, June 27, 2001.
She and her white 1999 Saturn car were never seen again – until a year ago.
Sunshine State Sonar founder Mike Sullivan was scanning a pond tucked behind a strip mall in Davie, north of Miami, in January 2023.
Footage from that day posted on YouTube shows a wheel slowly take shape on the sonar screen.
Throwing a buoy down to mark the spot, Sullivan stays in the boat while YouTuber Britain Lockhart suits up and dives down to find Moore’s white Saturn with human remains inside.
It may have been a major breakthrough in Moore’s case, but finding a car wasn’t surprising, really. Sullivan found more than 250 cars in Florida’s many human-made canals, ponds and fountains in 2023.
By day, Sullivan owns an auto-parts ecommerce company. In his off time, he offers his diving skills, sonar equipment and team of volunteers to any local official willing to give him any morsel of a clue that could help him chip away at the otherwise-stagnant list of missing persons cold cases.
In doing so, he also provides answers for families who have not known the fates of their loved ones for years, sometimes decades.
“I’m happy to be able to have her home,” said Christina Baber, Moore’s daughter, in an interview with USA TODAY. “I lost my mom 22 years ago, almost, and it’s a day I never thought would happen.”
Christina Baber and her mother Karen Moore, who went missing in 2001. Baber remembers her mother taking her out on fun adventures frequently.
Florida is covered in water. In addition to the 7,500 lakes and 12,000 miles of waterways, a 2020 survey cited by the University of Florida found 76,000 artificial ponds for stormwater drainage in the state …