Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

NYPD: Etan Patz Suspect in Custody

Etan Patz missing poster. NYPD.

New York police made an arrest late Wednesday night in the case of 6-year-old Etan Patz, who disappeared from a SoHo street in 1979.  In a statement issued today, police commissioner Ray Kelly said, “An individual now in custody has made statements to NYPD detectives implicating himself in the disappearance and death of Etan Patz 33 years ago. We expect to provide further details later today.”

The individual has been identified as Pedro Hernandez of Camden, NJ. According to police, Hernandez was considered as a suspect in the past.  Around the time of the boy’s disappearance, Hernandez was working as a handyman in the lower Manhattan neighborhood where the Patz family lived. It is unclear what exactly led to Hernandez’s arrest last night, but more details should emerge today when Commissioner Kelly issues another statement.

The prime suspect in the case throughout the investigation was Jose Ramos, a currently in prison for molesting a Pennsylvania boy.  Ramos has denied involvement in the Patz case, but was declared responsible for his death in a 2004 civil case.  Thought Patz was officially declared dead in 2001, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance recently reopened the case, and a basement near the Patz home was excavated in search of human remains.  The excavation was concluded after no obvious remains were found.

The break in the case comes just in time for its 33rd anniversary; Etan Patz vanished on May 25, 1979, while walking to the bus stop on his own for the first time.

More about the disappearance of Etan Patz. 

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