NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly announced this morning that a suspect in the 1979 disappearance of 6-year-old Etan Patz is currently in custody.
The suspect has been identified as Pedro Hernandez, who was arrested yesterday in Camden, New Jersey.
Kelly says Hernandez made statements to police implicating himself in Patz’s disappearance. Police sources tell the New York Post that Hernandez lured the boy with candy as he was walking to his bus stop before stabbing him, cutting up his body, and putting the remains in plastic bags. However, we were unable to independently confirm that information.
Last month, authorities tore up a basement in the SoHo neighborhood where Patz was last seen. They found nothing.
The basement was used at the time of Patz’s disappearance as a workshop for neighborhood handyman Othneil Miller, 75, who police said was the new “target” of their investigation. Miller was never charged.
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 started developing new leads that ultimately led authorities to Miller.
The Post also reports that Hernandez confessed to family members that he murdered a child. After authorities tore up the SoHo basement, one of Hernandez’s family members told authorities about the confession.
Kelly is expected to hold a news conference later today. Check back for updates.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 24, 2012