Man & car missing since 2006, found in pond, visible on Google Maps

South of Grand Rapids, a Bryon Township man made an unusual discovery while decorating a Christmas tree.

Brian Houseman, a Cook Funeral Home employee, was on a lift this week when he noticed something strange in the pond: a car submerged in the water, according WOOD-TV.

"No one could ever see it. It was murky and things moved around" Houseman told WOOD-TV.

The Kent County Sheriff's Office Dive Team responded to Houseman's call Tuesday morning.  Little did Houseman know he was about to help solve a nine-year long missing person mystery.

The wrecking crews pulled the mud-covered car from the murky water and authorities discovered skeletal remains in the driver's seat, presumed to be Davie Lee Niles of Byron Township.

The 72-year-old was last seen on Oct. 11, 2006 at Jake's Bar in Bryon Township; a bar which Davie frequented often. Family members told WOOD-TV he met a friend there but left suddenly on the day he disappeared. It also wasn't uncommon for Niles to just get up and leave because he was dealing with the discomfort caused by cancer along with depression.

Nile's submerged car is actually visible on Google Maps.

The pond where Niles' car was discovered is about a half mile from where he was last seen. The Kent County Sheriff's investigators are still waiting on dental records to positively identify the body. However, the car was registered to him and his wallet was inside the vehicle.

As time went on, hope of finding the beloved family member faded away as they were left to deal with the unanswered quesitons. In 2011, an obituary was published by his fmaily. "Davie Lee Niles, age 72, of Wyoming, passed away and only God knows the time and place," the obituary read online.

"For us today, it's a closure of a long search," Niles son-in-law, Scott Hathaway. "Why God waited nine years, I have no idea, but we're happy."

Authorities may not be able to ever determined if it was suicide or just a bizarre accident but they do not suspect foul play, according to WOOD-TV.