Law Enforcement officials confirm to the Voice that investigators have dug up the concrete basement of a SoHo building in search of evidence in the 1979 disappearance of Etan Patz.
Additionally, sources say the “target” of the investigation is a neighborhood handyman named Othneil Miller, 75, who would often pay Patz a few dollars to help him out around his shop.
Patz — who was the first missing child to appear on the side of a milk carton — was last seen on May 25, 1979, as he was walking just two blocks to a bus stop on his way to school. It was the first time he’d made the trip alone. He was never seen again — and was declared dead in 2001.
When Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance took office two years ago,he re-opened the case and developed new leads that are currently being investigated by the NYPD and the Federal Bureau of Investigations. One of those leads came from Patz’s mother, Julie, who told authorities they should speak with Miller.
After speaking with Miller, law enforcement officials took “scent pads” — which allows investigators to “collect scent evidence from hard to access places” without destroying any other evidence, like fingerprints — to the basement of the building at 127 Prince Street, where Miller had a workshop at the time of Patz’s disappearance.
The scent pads from the basement were then taken to a cadaver dog, who got a “hit,” which indicates human remains are — or were — somewhere in the basement.
The New York Post reports that after being presented with the scent evidence, Miller asked investigators “what if the body was moved?” However, our source could not confirm that report.
For now, Miller hasn’t been taken into custody and isn’t charged with any crimes.
As far as our source knows, authorities haven’t found anything yet, but the investigation could take up to five days.
Check back for updates.