It looks like there is yet another lead in the 1979 disappearance of Etan Patz: New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly announced today that NYPD detectives had obtained an incriminating statement from a new suspect.
The man, identified as Pedro Hernandez, was taken into custody yesterday, according to the New York Times. He had previously been looked at by detectives investigating the case, though it's not clear when. Manhattan District Attorney recently re-opened the investigation into Patz's disappearance, and the NYPD scoured the basement of a building not far from Patz's Soho home several weeks ago.
Kelly described Hernandez's statement as "implicating himself in the disappearance and death of Etan Patz 33 years ago." The Times says he hasn't told investigators anything that isn't in the public record about the case. Scrutiny has previously focused on Jose Antonio Ramos, an imprisoned child molester who has always denied involvement. Patz's parents won a $2 million civil judgement against Ramos for his alleged role in Patz's murder in 2004, which they never collected. Each year on his son's birthday and the anniversary of his disappearance, Stan Patz sends Ramos a copy of Etan's "MISSING" poster with the message, "What did you do to my little boy?"
UPDATE: Hernandez claims to have strangled Patz and dumped his body in a box, the Times is now reporting. The body later disappeared, Hernandez told the police, when he went back to find it.
UPDATE: Police Claim a Confession in Etan Patz Case
I've always felt a strong connection to this case. We lived pretty close to where he did, and he was only a couple of years younger.