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Google Apologizes for Satellite Image of Slain Teen

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Google is apologizing to a Bay Area father after a satellite view on Google Maps showed the body of his murdered 14-year-old son. Monte Francis reports.

    Google is apologizing to a Bay Area father after a satellite view on Google Maps showed the body of his 14-year-old son who was killed four years ago, but whose image was recently discovered.

    The image is still on Google Maps, but the Mountain View-based company said it is working to take it down.

    The boy's father, Jose Barrera of Richmond, found out about the image last week.

    Google Maps' vice president , Brian McClendon, called him on Monday to apologize.

    "Our hearts go out to the family of this young boy. Since the media first contacted us about the image, we've been looking at different technical solutions. 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. We believe we can update this in eight days, and we've spoken to the family to let them know we're working hard on the update."

    Barrera's son, Kevin, was shot and killed Aug. 14, 2009 on the railroad tracks near North Richmond and San Pablo, Calif. But when he saw the satellite image of his son laying lifeless on the ground on Google Maps, Barrera said all the painful memories came rushing back. His son's killers have never been found.

    "We were really close," Barrera said. "So to see his body, those images, that hurt me a lot."

    Despite the pain the image has caused him, Barrera said he hopes the publicity will finally bring a break in his son's killing, which remains unsolved.

    "I'm feeling like it could help me to put more pressure on the police department," he said.

    In the meantime, McClendon explained it will take eight days to fix the problem because the company wants to "uphold the highest quality imagery" in its maps and for areas that have 3D images, and that takes longer update. He pointed out that the company also has to update the imagery in three different products: new Google Maps, Google Earth, and older version of Google Maps.

    For Barrera, the changes can't come too soon. Respecting his son's memory means remembering the images of his life and not of his death.

    "I'm never going to forget my son," he said. "He's always on my mind."

    NBC News contributed to this report.