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Google says it will remove apparent satellite image of California's father's murdered son

Google says it will remove a satellite image on its Google Maps site that appears to show the body of a 14-year-old San Francisco Bay-area boy who was shot and killed in 2009.

Richard Barrea told KTVU over the weekend that he became aware of the image of his son Kevin earlier in the week. He said he wanted Google Inc. to take down the image out of respect for his son.

"When I see this image, that's still like that happened yesterday," Barrera told the news station Sunday. "And that brings me back to a lot of memories."

On Monday night, Brian McClendon, the vice president of Google Maps, said in an email to KTVU that the company believes the image can be replaced in eight days.

“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,” McClendon said. “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 image, which has a 2011 copyright, shows what appears to be a body on the ground near a rail line in Richmond with several other people, presumably investigators, and what looks like a police car nearby. It was still visible on Google's website Monday.

Kevin's body was found on a path near railroad tracks that separate North Richmond from San Pablo on Aug. 15, 2009. His slaying remains unsolved.

Police believe Kevin was killed in the same spot the night before his body was found, said Richmond police Sgt. Nicole Abetkov. They have not established a motive for the slaying or identified any suspects.

Google says most of the satellite data it acquires is about one to three years old, although it tries to update it regularly.

Google Maps also provides a street view function that allows people to tour areas as someone passing through them would. Street View displays images that have been gathered by Google using cameras mounted on cars, tricycles and even snowmobiles.

Some of the images have raised privacy concerns, though Google says its technology automatically blurs license plates and people's faces. It also allows users to report concerns about the images.

There is, however, no similar reporting feature for satellite imagery, according to Google.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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