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Etan Patz

Etan Patz

My wife and I were talking about him not long ago.  For each of us, his disappearance left an indelible mark.  Whenever there was a report of a missing child, we inevitably said, I wonder what happened to Etan Patz.

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Seeing this headline brought back the nightmare, and the hope for closure for the family, NYC basement searched for boy missing since 1979:

 A team of police officers and FBI agents began tearing apart a New York City basement Thursday as part of a decades-old investigation into the disappearance of 6-year-old Etan Patz, whose case made a generation of parents afraid to send their children out alone.

Etan vanished without a trace in 1979 after leaving his family’s Manhattan apartment for a short walk to catch a school bus. It was the first time his parents had let him go off to school alone.

The building being searched sits about a block from where the family lived, in the borough’s SoHo section, and is along the route that the boy would have taken on his walk to the bus stop.

Police spokesman Paul Browne said a forensic team would dig up a floor and search through the rubble for blood, clothing or human remains. The work is expected to take as many as five days.

Update 4-24-2012: Unfortunately, Etan dig comes up empty.


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I’m old enough to remember, very sad.

It is a heart breaking story. My prayers and condolences to his family.

Horrifying for any parent.
I hope they catch the bastard who killed that sweet boy.

A very troubing story, for which there’s no happy ending, not even so called closure! Etan is just 4-months older than our oldest son, so the news about his disappearance was very troubling then.

Since the building has been there the whole time and they presumably haven’t done this before, sounds like someone gave them a tip – probably anonymously. Hope it bears fruit, sad as that would be. At least his parents would know.

Juba Doobai! | April 20, 2012 at 5:41 am

I remember that story, and remember thinking about how those parents must have felt letting that child go off by himself that one time and never seeing him again. The kid seemed to drop off into thin air. Ethan Patz stayed long in the memory of many a New Yorker. Ethan walked to the corner and that was the last anyone saw of him. Sad. Cute kid.

JackRussellTerrierist | April 20, 2012 at 6:52 am

This sounds similar to the story about the little boy a years or two back in a NY Jewish neighborhood. It was the first time his parents had let him walk from one location to another destination alone. He had very specific instructions about what street to cross and what direction to go. He didn’t make it. Some evil, dirty old bastard grabbed him. It was someone known and liked in the neighborhood – very shocking for such a neighborhood as that.

Horrifying. I hope this poor child is found.

JackRussellTerrierist | April 20, 2012 at 6:54 am

How does such evil get into the hearts of people to do these things?

This made me remember Jason Foreman. He was 5 years old when he disappeared from his home in South Kingston, RI. They found his remains years later in a house up the street. The killer got a plea bargain because the details of the crime were so gruesome everyone wanted to avoid a trial.

I just Googled it and found out that they let the killer go last September. He served 28 years of his 40 year sentence, having had 12 years shaved for “good behavior”. He was 16 when he killed Jason. He’s my age now. I found articles about Jason’s father’s vow to kill him. I don’t blame him.