Two years after reopening the case, police now say they have a suspect in custody in the 1979 disappearance of six-year-old Etan Patz from his New York City neighborhood.
It was just last month when FBI and NYPD officers conducted am excavation of a basement in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood near where Patz was last seen. At the time, police said no human remains were found and it was still a missing person case.
“An individual now in custody has made statements to NYPD detectives implicating himself in the disappearance and death of Etan Patz 33 years ago,” said New York police commissioner Raymond Kelly in a prepared statement.
Kelly said police would provide more information on the case later today.
The suspect, Pedro Hernandez, was taken into custody late last night in Camden, New Jersey. He had reportedly been considered a possible suspect in the past as well.
Although the boy was declared dead in 2001, Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance re-opened the case in 2010. Federal investigators searched the basement last month seeking clothing and human remains after a cadaver-sniffing dog detected something there.
Almost exactly 33 years ago today, on May 25, 1979, Patz’s parents let their son make his first unaccompanied trip to the bus stop two blocks away. It would be the last time they ever saw him.
His parents, Stan and Julie Patz, were hesitant to move or even change their phone number in case their son one day attempted to reach out.
Patz became one of the first missing children in the U.S. to have his picture printed on milk cartons.
Another potential suspect in the case was Jose Antonio Ramos, a friend of Patz’s babysitter who was eventually convicted of child molestation in a separate Pennsylvania case. He is set to be freed from prison this November.
Last month, Patz family members asked the press to respect their privacy while the excavation was being done a mere 100 yards from the home where they still live to this day.
Authorities ripped the through the floor of a workshop used by handyman Othniel Miller, now 75, who had paid the Etan Patz to help him with chores.
Miller was questioned by police but was never charged with a crime.
- Etan Patz Case Reopened after 33 Years (VIDEO) (blippitt.com)