Man implicates self in Etan Patz case
Family has waited three decades for justice.
New York Police Department is announcing that a man has been implicated and arrested in connection with the 1979 disappearance and death of Etan Patz. The 6-year-old boy was walking alone for his first time, just two blocks from his home in the SoHo district of Manhattan, when he disappeared. His disappearance prompted a fundamental change in the national psyche with regard to children and the perceived dangers they face.
Etan Patz disappeared in 1979 on his first walk alone to a bus stop.
Police say the man was detained on Wednesday in Camden, NJ and the Manhattan District Attorney's office conducted questioning on Thursday. The FBI and NYPD are participating in the probe.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly released a statement summarizing the situation, "An individual now in custody has made statements to NYPD detectives implicating himself in the disappearance and death of Etan Patz 33 years ago."
The case recently gained new attention in April when police searched a basement of someone formerly suspected in the case. Police clarified that the search turned up no evidence and was not connected to the individual now in custody.
What is known is that the man in custody did live in the neighborhood at the time of the disappearance and he was known to detectives. There is no word on why detectives decided to pick him up for further questioning.
The Police Commissioner is expected to release more details on Thursday.
The disappearance of Etan Patz began the modern era of helicopter parenting, stranger danger, and kids' faces on milk cartons. That movement has snowballed to tougher sentences for crimes against children, public registries of child abusers, and residency restrictions for sex offenders. These measures remain popular in spite of mounting evidence that some are based on popular sentiment and may be counter-productive to public safety.
Meanwhile the parents, Stan and Julie Patz, have remained in their SoHo apartment since Etan's disappearance, in the vain hope that he might someday reach out to them. The family still has their old phone number. They have endured false leads, and hope for decades.
In 2001, Stan Patz has his son declared legally dead and he sued, and won, a civil case against Jose Ramos, a convicted child molester who is now serving time in Pennsylvania. In 2004, a judge found Ramos responsible for Etan's death and held him civilly liable. Ramos has denied the charges, and may now prove innocent.
© 2012, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
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Keywords: Etan Patz, NYPD, arrest, suspect, crime, Jose Ramos, milk carton, missing children
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