Arrest Made in Etan Patz Case
Arrest Made in the Etan Patz Missing Child Case 33 Years Later
Thirty-three years to the day after 6-year-old Etan Patz disappeared on his walk to school in New York City's SoHo neighborhood, sparking a national campaign and a change in the way missing child cases were handled, a suspect has been arrested after confessing to the crime.
New York police commissioner Raymond W. Kelly announced Thursday that Pedro Hernandez, a bodega worker on the boy's route to school, is the accused. Hernandez, who was 19 at the time of Etan's disappearance, says he lured the boy into the store where is worked with the promise of a soda, choked Etan to death and then placed his body in the trash a few blocks away.
The case is still in the very early stages, however, and while Hernandez allegedly told a credible story, there is still no forensic evidence to link him to the crime—and after so many years, the question is, will there ever be?
Just writing about this crime makes me shiver. I was a child of the '80s and this case set off a campaign of both missing child alerts as well as preventative measures. Everything from school lectures to special programming on our favorite shows alerted us to "stranger danger," and I can honestly say, that throughout my childhood, I was painfully aware of the dangers lurking around me—even in my sheltered suburban community.
But the bottom line is a boy went missing, most likely after facing a scary end far away from the security if his mother's arms, and a family lost their beloved son. I can only hope that this turns out to be legitimate so that Etan can rest in peace and his family can finally find some respite. My heart goes out to them for having to re-live this tragedy.
Video: Etan Patz Case: Suspect Arrested
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