YouTube Inspires ‘True Crime Junkies’ to Buy Sonar-Equipped Boat and Solve Cold-Case Mysteries

YouTube Inspires ‘True Crime Junkies’ to Buy Sonar-Equipped Boat and Solve Cold-Case Mysteries (



from the clues-club dept.

Described as a “non profit volunteer search team” on its official site, Sunshine State Sonar “found more than 350 cars in canals, ponds and waterways across Florida” in just the last two years, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

It’s owned by two half brothers — “weekend fishermen turned amateur underwater detectives.”

[T]he true-crime junkies dive into cold cases, searching for the disappeared. Sometimes, they choose the cases themselves, following threads online. Other times, law enforcement asks for their help.

They have discovered remains of 11 missing people inside cars, giving answers to relatives who had spent years agonizing. One family, who thought their mom had left them, learned that she had driven off the road. Relatives of a missing teacher suspected his girlfriend — then found out he had been submerged in a canal for three years. And the son of a young mother who thought she had been murdered was relieved when her death proved a watery accident…

“It all started with YouTube,” [Mike] Sullivan says. “I kinda got obsessed.” A couple of years ago, he got into bingeing Adventures with Purpose, videos of a volunteer dive team in Oregon that searches for missing people. “Florida has so much water!” he told his wife. “I really need to do this….”

He didn’t know how to scuba dive. He’d never longed to float through crystal water or over schools of colorful fish. But he got certified so he could swim through muddy channels and search waterlogged crime scenes. He bought a shallow-draft boat and outboard motor, rigged it with the latest fish-finding technology: a Lowrance SideScan sonar, a DownScan imaging device and a Garmin LiveScope. The machines send sound waves pulsing through the water, then record them as they bounce back to create a blurry image on a monitor — like a sonogram… The equipment cost Sullivan $21,000. It took him a year to be able to interpret the images, to tell a rock from a Volkswagen.

Thanks to Slashdot reader Hectar for sharing the article.

Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft … and the
only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor.
— Wernher von Braun


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