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May 24, 2012

U.S. News: NYPD detains New Jersey man in Etan Patz case

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thumbnail NYPD detains New Jersey man in Etan Patz case
May 24th 2012, 11:17

A suspect is in custody after making statements to NYPD detectives implicating himself in the disappearance and death of Etan Patz, a 6-year-old boy who vanished 33 years ago from his Manhattan neighborhood. WNBC-TV's Jonathan Dienst reports.

By Jonathan Dienst and Shimon Prokupecz,

The NYPD is questioning a New Jersey man in connection with the case of Etan Patz, the 6-year-old boy who vanished more than 30 years ago as he walked to the school bus from his SoHo home, reported Thursday.

Police picked the man up sometime Wednesday evening and brought him to New York City for questioning, sources said.

The man was previously known to investigators and is not anyone new in the case, law enforcement sources said. He worked and lived in Patz's neighborhood when the boy disappeared.

For more on this case, visit

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said in a statement that the man "has made statements to NYPD detectives implicating himself in the disappearance and death of Etan Patz 33 years ago."

An intensive search for Patz was renewed several weeks ago when police dug up the basement of a handyman's workshop near Patz's SoHo home. A new layer of concrete had been laid over the foundation of the basement shortly after Patz disappeared.

That search yielded no new evidence of value, police said.

NYPD via AP, file

This undated image provided Friday, May 28, 2010 by Stanley K. Patz shows a flyer distributed by the New York Police Department of Patz's son Etan, who vanished in New York on May 25, 1979.

The man in custody Thursday so far has not provided details that would lead them to Patz's body, sources said.

Police end search for Etan Patz remains
Investigators collect hair, paper in search for Patz

Several sources have indicated some skepticism exists about the man's story, but police are being thorough in their investigation of any possible leads.

One other man has remained a longtime possible suspect: Jose Ramos, a drifter and onetime boyfriend of Patz's babysitter. In the early 1980s, he was arrested on theft charges, and had photos of other young, blond boys in his backpack. But there was no hard evidence linking Ramos to the crime. He is in prison in Pennsylvania on a separate case.

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