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'Stain' Found as the Search for Etan Patz Continues

'Stain' Found as the Search for Etan Patz Continues

This could be a breakthrough. 


According to CNN this morning, FBI officials have discovered a mysterious 'stain' on the concrete wall in the basement of a SoHo apartment. The site - a half-block away from where the young Patz vanished a little over 30 years - once belonged to long-standing suspect, Othniel Miller, and is at the center of the re-invigorated investigation

As of now, it has not been concluded that the stain is actually blood. The 'stain' was spotlighted with the use of the chemical luminol, which can detect blood but is not always spot-on. The part of the wall that contains it, however, has been chain-sawed out and will be sent to a federal laboratory in Virginia, where officials will find out a) if it is blood; and b) who it belongs to.

The clue could be the most significant development in a case that has confused the FBI and the country for more than three decades.

On May 25th, 1979, Etan Patz walked to the bus for the first time alone and never came back. He was the first missing child whose face was put on a milk carton, symbolizing the national phenomenon that ensued after that fateful morning, and his disappearance led to the permanent National Missing Child Day.

When Patz went missing, the basement floor was "newly poured" and was not touched in the original search for the 6-year-old. But, after Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. opened up the case again in 2010, the architecture of the cellar became an area of interest. FBI officials have been tearing it up in search for anything that could give them some sort of direction to who or what was behind the fate of the missing boy.


The main suspect was and still is Othniel Miller, a carpenter that met the boy the day before and gave him a dollar. Along with his sometimes strange behavior, these are the only pieces of evidence authorities have against the now-75-year-old man, who denies all involvement, and it's not much to work with.

Etan's parents, Stan and Julie Patz, live a block away from where this is all happening. In regards to the 'stain,' they are unresponsive: on the front of their door, a sign sadly hangs that says, "To the hardworking and patient media people, the answer to all your questions at this time is 'no comment.' Please stop ringing our doorbell and calling our phone for interviews."

UPDATE: An article published yesterday in the NYTimes reports that Mr. Miller was allegedly accused by his ex-wife of raping a 10-year-old girl.  

Follow John Surico @JSuricz

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