Etan Patz was an 8 year old New York boy. He disappeared on his way to the bus stop almost exactly 33 years ago, vanishing without a trace. It was the first time his parents let him walk to the bus stop alone. His parents have been searching for him, or for answers, ever since.
Etan’s disappearance and the subsequent search for him led to widespread awareness over the plight of missing and exploited children – for example, Etan’s toothy grin was the first picture of a missing child to appear on milk cartons. The increased awareness of missing children has been called the “end of innocence” of parents, and arguably led to a generation of far more paranoid parents and a generation of far more sheltered children – however, it can’t be denied that the thought of a random abduction strikes mortal fear in to any parent.
Today, one day shy of the 33rd anniversary of Etan’s disappearance, New York police say they have a suspect in custody in the disappearance of Etan Patz: A man who claims that he lured Etan with candy in 1979, killed him and disposed of his body. The New York Times have identified the suspect as Pedro Hernandez. Hernandez was taken in to custody last Wednesday in New Jersey, and has apparently been considered a suspect in the case in the past.
Etan was declared legally dead in 2001 but the police continue to investigate the case, most recently during the excavation of a basement nearby suspected to contain human remains. That search turned up empty.
New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said that further details will be released later Thursday. It’s worth noting that tomorrow, May 25, is National Missing Children’s day, declared as such by Ronald Reagan in honor of Etan.
Wikipedia provided by Stanley Katz