It has been 39 years since Etan Patz went missing. Now a shocking discovery has been made giving this case another shocking twist. Let us take you into the detailed description of how this surprise revelation had been made. Prepare to get amazed.
Little Etan Patz
On October 9th, 1972 Stanley and Julie Patz were proud parents that welcomed little Etan Patz. Etan spent the first 6 years of his life staying in Manhattan with his family, with Ari and Shira his darling siblings. His dad said he was a very perky boy who always maintained a smile on his face.
How Did He Disappear?
All the way back in May 25th, 1979, Etan had gone alone to get to his school bus stop for the first time ever. This was after he pleaded his parents persistently to let him go to school alone. Etan had on a blue captain’s hat, a blue shirt, blue jeans, and blue sneakers. After leaving his SoHo apartment at 113 Prince Street he had plans of finally going to school by himself but ended up never reaching the bus stop.
Never Stop Watching
Etan’s mom and dad were unable to keep an eye on their boy as he was walking towards his school bus stop from their apartment because of their prior commitments. Etan’s father Stanley had a photo-shoot uptown as he was a professional photographer. Julie his mother, was busy with his other sibling when Etan was alone. Till this day, the couple still regrets not paying close enough attention to their little man.
Was Marked Absent in School
Etan seemingly missed the bus that day as the teacher found that he was not in the classroom. Since his parents assume he would be there, they never questioned nor inquired about his whereabouts to the school. Since the teacher did not think it was that much of a big deal, the principal was never informed about this. But when Etan did not reach home on time that day, hi smother grew concerned and phoned the school.
His Mother Rethinking
Julie Patz has remained very tight-lipped about what happened 40 years ago. She has recently opened up about how the unexpected final days had been spent that day Etan went missing. Julie remembers trying to convince Etan not to go alone that day and that his elder sister did not want to get up from the bed that day. She was unsure of letting him walk alone but gave in in the end.
The detectives had suspected Etan’s family as suspects just like other cases. The early stages of the investigation quickly proved their innocence and that they were not to blame. A gang of 100 policemen and several hounds went in search for little Etan. Even the community helped out by posting campaigns and posters. The search went on for a few weeks time.
Going Against The Odds
Since this case so so peculiar, many people grew very suspicious of the family. No crime scene, no witnesses, and no clear evidence was there which made the task of handling the case extremely challenging. The investigation went into full swing immediately but then the harsh weather interrupted and it was kept on hold. The police dogs could barely pick up Etan’s scent.
John Miller Had Reported The Case
John Miller, Deputy Commissioner of intelligence and counter-terrorism of the New York Police Department had formerly worked as a TV news reporter in New York covering Etan’s missing case. He spoke about the case saying that “it was a story that captured the public’s attention and…one glance the wrong way…one moment of inattention, you look, and they’re gone.’”
Stanley Patz, The Photographer
Etan’s father Stanley Patz was a professional photographer and made use of his work by handing out photos of his son to get the public’s awareness. Etan’s photos had been printed on Times Square and on milk cartons and posters. His efforts grabbed media attention and it quickly became a national topic of interest.
The Missing Children Movement
The missing children movement was established soon after Etan’s disappearance. America’s communities and locations that were considered safe areas for kids soon became unsafe and parents did not allow their kids to roam about after Etan’s case went public. There were higher security measures taken and also made way for better ways to look for missing kids such as the milk carton photos.
Photos On Milk Bottles
After six years of going missing, Etan’s face was the first ever to be printed on milk cartons. This could get the buyer’s attention and hopefully be on the look-out for him. As 1985 happened, 700 independent US dairies made use of diary cartons to put missing kids on it. This practice ended in 2010.
A Sad Reality
After Etan went missing people began to be extra cautious and the fear of losing kids on everyday activities alarmed parents ever much more as it became a tragic reality. New York City resident Amanda Stern explains the time during that time and says, “What did it mean to disappear? If Etan could, so could my brother, my mother, my sister, me.”
Reagan’s National Day
The Missing Children Movement even made its way to reaching the White House. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan announced that May 25th would thereafter be National Missing Children’s Day in the U.S. It was the day Etan went missing. In 2001, the same day was marked as International Missing Children’s Day.
In the year 1982, Jose Antonio Ramos, a convicted child abuser had a habit of luring boys into the drain. While the police were investigating they found lookalikes of Etan and Ramos in pictures. Ramos then became the number one suspect in this case for the next 30 years. To add to all this, Ramos’ girlfriend then was a former babysitter for Etan.
Joseph Gelfand’s Intervention
Gelfand found Ramos with three 11-12-year-old boys on his first night working for the NYPD and says “The kid said Ramos offered to … perform [inappropriate behavior] on him. But when they got to the roof, he said he had changed his mind and he wanted the boy to perform [inapropriate behavior] on him, and he threatened, ‘If you don’t do it, something bad is going to happen.’”
Evidence At Last
In Ramos’ wallet, Gelfand found multiple shocking items such as the report for his ways of luring boys into the drain. Gelfand and Ramos had an encounter only after several months. Ramos had photos of five boys who looked similar to Etan. Ramos walked free for some years again after an interrogation session soon after.
GraBois Steps In
Back in 1985, Assistant United States, Attorney Stuart R. GraBois got the case and Ramos was the prime suspect. GraBois made this decision as Ramos had already been involved in child abuse cases in Pennsylvania. After five years, he was he the state attorney and could now inquire and investigate Ramos’ involvement in Etan’s case.
Ramos’ Uncertain Words
Ramos made various contradicting statements. Ramos confessed that he did rape the boy on that very day he went missing but could not clarify if it was, in fact, Etan or not. He then said he “put the boy on a subway.” A jail informant stated that Ramos was aware of the boy’s bus routes, that it was planned. By 1999, Ramos became the official prime suspect.
Every Nook And Cranny
Grabois spoke with a couple whose son had been previously abused by Ramos. The goal for him was to get their boy to testify against Ramos in court. The boy’s mom spoke about Ramos and said “damaged something, and he had no right. You know, he took the innocence away from him, and he did not have that right.” The case could go on from there.
‘Jeremy’ was the jail informant who stayed with Ramos that revealed his knowledge about the Patz family. Ramos was in sex therapy, Who Am I And Why Am I In Treatment? that he needed to complete. Jeremy said that he acted like a confidante and therapist for Ramos who confessed to snatching Etan up on Prince Street, taking him to East Village, later abusing him.
Being Legally Dead
Stanley and Julie did not want to lose hope. In the year of 2001, Etan was denounced legally dead and their faith was indeed shaken. In 2004 a civil case was won but Ramos had never been officially prosecuted for Etan’s murder. They were awarded $2 million, which they never collected. After 20 years in prison, Ramos was released in November 2012 but then arrested once again for violating Megan’s Law.
The Rabbi Connection
There was a key detail that had been undercover for those 40 years and it was Etan’s uncle, Rabbi Norman Patz. The head of a large congregation in New Jersey, Etan’s uncle would prove to be not so distant from the case. After Patz’s disappearance, Rabbi Patz had accompanied dozens of kids on a trip to the kibbutz in Israel. But After Etan author Lisa Cohen dismissed the chances of Etan being an Israeli citizen.
After Etan By Lisa R. Cohen
Former ABC and CBS producer, Lisa R. Cohen had spent several years trying to figure out the Edan Patz case. The Emmy-winning TV newsmagazine producer published her book After Etan in the year 2009, that spoke about her conclusions and discoveries. She had spent a few decades trying to find out what went wrong and was deeply involved in uncovering the secret.
Still Waiting For Etan
In an ABC interview in 2009, Stanley Patz spoke about his son’s sudden disappearance to Correspondent Jay Schadler who learned that the couple has never moved from the place where Etan went missing, and the reason is touching. Stanley says “for the longest time, we didn’t know what happened to Etan. So of course, the thoughts in the back of our minds was always that we should be here for him.”
The Silent Witness?
An FBI revealed to the NY Times that his sister Shira had told them some details about the case. She was one of the main witnesses to have been there while the boy vanished. The FBI was confident that if anyone had made any inappropriate advances on her brother, Shira might have known. Although Agent Thomas McDonald tried for an interview, she refused.
Still No Closure
Although legally. there have been answers, it has been 30 years but the family still has found no closure as such. For a long time, Stanley Patz had sent Ramos the posters of his boy with the message: “What did you do to my little boy?” Ramos kept his word and maintained that he was not involved in Etan’s death. The Patzes eventually had their 2004 judgment of Ramos dismissed with a fair reason.
Reopening The Case
This case was reopened by the Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, Jr in 2010 after 6 years of holding it. In 2012, the FBI and NYPD excavated the SoHo basement of 127-B Prince Street, near the family’s home. This was a storage space owned by a handyman that had been refurbished during the disappearance. They had not substantial evidence even after four days.
Othniel Miller was the handyman who had been questioned after his ex-wife had accusations about him were reported. His ex-wife claimed that she divorced Miller back in 1986 because of n alleged abuse involving a 10-year-old girl. However, Miller’s stepson, Jason C. Webley found that this was just a personal attack on Miller and that Miller had no hand in the death of Etan Patz.
After a month passed, a new suspect came into custody. An official revealed that Pedro Hernandez made a confession about strangling Etan. In Lisa Cohen’s book, After Etan, it was written that Ethan held a dollar to buy Coca-Cola to have a drink for his school lunch. Hernandez said he was 18 then and worked at a convenience store during that time and his story was credible. He was charged with second-degree murder and confessed that he threw the boy’s body away.
A Family Secret
During that time Hernandez’s brother-in-law, Jose Lopez had, in fact, told the police that he may be the person responsible for Etan’s death. Family members suspected that Hernandez may have confessed to his crime at St. Anthony of Padua, a Roman Catholic church in Camden, New Jersey, during the ’80s. His sister, Nina Hernandez and Tomas Rivera, leader of the Charismatic Christianity group also revealed that it was an open secret that the family was aware of.
Hernandez’s confessions had been kept on trial and investigated for a few reasons. There were claims that he was mentally ill. Attorney Harvey Fishbein stated that Hernandez had a schizotypal personality disorder which meant that he would often get hallucinated. The lawyers claim that he imagined killing the boy and that he had a low IQ of 69. The family confirmed that he was indeed mentally insane.
There were several hearings for the Hernandez case back in 2014. It determined if Hernandez was capable of using his Miranda rights. It is the right to criminal suspects to remain silent and is also known as Miranda warning. All of his statements would be preserved for later proceedings. His 2014 hearings were to settle if Hernandez understood the rights clearly.
Harvey Fishbein wanted to get the full details of how the former prime suspect, Jose Ramos was involved in the case. The was declared responsible by a civil court but remained to never be criminally charged. Ramos refused to testify at the Hernandez trial stating that his right of self-incrimination would be triggered with the exception that evidence against him would be used.
No Ulterior Motive
Hernandez had indeed offered the boy a bottle of coke that day the incident took place. He confessed that after leading him into the basement and finished choking Etan he kept him in a bag. He, however, thought the kid was still alive when he left him. “I just couldn’t let go,” Hernandez revealed, “I felt like something just took over me.” He had no motive but was deemed fit to be prosecuted nonetheless.
The Trial Finally Rests
A retrial was set after several mistrials occurred on October 19th, 2016 taking 4 months before Hernandez was ultimately was declared guilty of kidnapping and murder. Finally, the day came which the Patz family had longed for 40 long years. On April 18th, Pedro Hernandez had a sentence of life imprisonment with no possibility for parole for 25 years. The case was finally put to rest.
Words Of Retribution
Right after Hernandez’s conviction, Etan’s dad directed a message to his son’s abductor cum murderer. He could finally have a confrontation with Hernandez after all those years of struggling to find him. “Pedro Hernandez, after all these years, we finally know what dark secret you had locked in your heart,” Stan Patz said emotionally. “I will never forgive you. The god you pray to will never forgive you. You are the monster in your nightmares.”
The Patzes’ Victory
Following such a strenuous case in trying to find answers Stanley had a statement on his family’s behalf. “I looked forward to the first trial because I thought that would be the end of it,” he revealed. “It provided answers for me and I thought it would be the end of interviews, crazy phone calls, people showing up with their crazy theories. We really want to get this thing behind us.”
Father Found Relief
Stanley found his final sigh of relief after such a long ordeal involving not just mental but physical stress for him and his family. He immediately called his wife after the verdict as she could not be present. “I’m really grateful – I’m really grateful – this jury finally came back with what I’ve known for a long time.” He also says “that this man, Pedro Hernandez, is guilty of doing something really terrible so many years ago.”