Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

First Etan Patz Suspect Released from Prison — and Immediately Rearrested

Jose Antonio Ramos then and now

Jose Antonio Ramos then and now

Some people never learn. Jose Antonio Ramos, the first suspect in the case of missing boy Etan Patz, just completed a sentence of 20 years in a Pennsylvania prison for molesting children, and was immediately rearrested after police determined that he gave them inaccurate address information. As a convicted sex offender, Ramos is required to furnish the address where he will be living on release from prison to the authorities, as prescribed by Megan’s Law. According to Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Richard Krawetz Ramos gave them the address of a relative, who hasn’t lived at that address for years. There was some implication that Ramos was intentionally trying to mislead authorities, because the address he gave was reportedly from 30 years ago. Even so giving inaccurate information constitutes a violation of Megan’s Law so, “When he walked out of the main gate, he was taken into custody by troopers,” Krawetz said.

This is a lucky stroke for prosecutors in the Patz case, who were never able to bring Ramos to criminal trial for Etan’s disappearance. For lack of evidence the case was tried in civil court and a judgment obtained against Ramos as having been responsible for the boy’s disappearance. This year another suspect, Pedro Hernandez, emerged in the case, and confessed to murdering Etan Patz. He was arrested and sits in prison, though prosecutors have not yet announced if they plan to proceed with a trial. Also, despite numerous searches of the market where Hernandez worked at the time of Etan’s disappearance, prosecutors have not revealed what, if any, evidence they have on Hernandez other than his confession. This coupled with Hernandez’ lawyer’s insistence that his client is mentally ill casts doubt on Hernandez’ confession.

With Ramos’ rearrest, prosecutors may have a little more time to figure out their next move in a case that many thought, until this year, would never be resolved.

First Suspect in Patz Case Set to be Released

Feature Article: The Disappearance of Etan Patz

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