A New York grand jury has indicted Pedro Hernandez in connection with the 1979 death of Etan Patz. Mr. Hernandez, a 51-year-old resident of Maple Shade, N.J., has been charged with murder in the second degree. He was arrested in May 2012 after reportedly confessing to killing the little boy.
Etan Patz was on his way to school when he vanished from Soho on May 25, 1979. His disappearance became national news, his image eventually appearing on milk cartons across the country.
At the time, Mr. Hernandez was a stock clerk at a bodega near the Patz residence. According to a statement from NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, Mr. Hernandez said he lured Etan into the basement of the bodega by promising the boy a soda.
More than 30 years after his son Etan became one of the first missing children to appear on a milk carton, Stanley Patz has withdrawn distribution rights for his photographs from the Associated Press.
In a statement, the AP said it had removed four photos of Etan from their database and instructed its member newspapers do the same. The request came shortly after the April excavation of a Soho basement failed to uncover Etan’s remains and before Pedro Hernandez’s confession thrust the grieving family back into the media spotlight.
When 6-year-old Etan disappeared on the streets of Soho in 1979, the Patzs believed circulating the collection of personal photos (Mr. Patz is a professional photographer) would aid in their son’s speedy return. Instead, they helped make it one of the most sensational and heartbreaking media stories of the decade.
In a press conference streamed live by multiple media outlets, N.Y.P.D. Commissioner Ray Kelly announced that police have arrested Pedro Hernandez in connection with the May 25, 1979 disappearance of Etan Patz. Mr. Kelly told reporters that police found “probable cause” to arrest Mr. Hernandez.
Mr. Kelly said Mr. Hernandez confessed to strangling and killing the boy as Etan headed to school the morning he vanished. Mr. Hernandez allegedly placed the body in a box which he left on the street.
Mr. Hernandez was a stock clerk in a bodega near the Patz home at the time of the disappearance. He allegedly led the boy into the basement there, luring him with the “promise of a soda,” according to Commissioner Kelly.
On May 25, 1979—the first day his mother allowed him to walk to the bus stop alone—6-year-old Etan Patz went missing just blocks from his parents’ Soho loft. The case roused the fears of the nation and changed the way parents raised their children. In the days and months after, the full force of the New York press was trained on the family. The case became as much of a media phenomenon as a police investigation.
Despite thousands of man hours on the part of law enforcement, and the identification of at least one suspect in 1990—a convicted child molester named José Ramos, currently in prison in Pennsylvania on other charges—no arrests have been made in the Patz case. Last week, the FBI and NYPD excavated a basement on Prince Street, just one block from the Patzes’ apartment, and once again the media descended on the family. Law enforcement officials are analyzing a stain they found, but so far they have “nothing conclusive.”
On the slim chance that Etan would find his way home, the Patzes have never moved or changed their telephone number, and each time a possible development arises, a new onslaught of reporters arrives at their door. In the 33 years since the disappearance, the Patzes have lived with the media as a fact of their life. We talked to reporters and editors who covered the case in its first year.
FBI and NYPD investigators shut a two-block stretch of Prince Street in SoHo today to dig for remains in the case of a young boy who went missing nearly 33 years ago. Etan Patz, 6, disappeared on May 25, 1979 after leaving his home for a two-block walk to his school bus stop. Despite worldwide attention, the case has never been solved. NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Public Information Paul Browne told The Observer that police and FBI investigators are “executing a search warrant this morning for human remains, clothing or other personal effects that may help us lead to the location of Etan Patz” in the basement of 127B Prince Street. Etan went missing about a half block away from the basement.
“It’s about a 15-by-30 basement space,” Mr. Browne said. “It’s currently unoccupied, we’ll be taking down the drywall and excavating the basement.”
The parents of Sean Bell, the man who was shot and killed by police officers on his wedding day three years ago, are endorsing Richard Aborn for Manhattan district attorney, the campaign announced.
Bell’s parents, William and Valerie, said in a public statement that Aborn “has placed real emphasis on making sure that law Read More