The boy on the milk carton – Etan Patz

Etan Patz
Etan Patz

UPDATE 4/19/17 – Pedro Hernandez was sentence to 25 years in prison for the murder of Etan Patz.


UPDATE 2/14/17 –  Pedro Hernandez has been found guilty of the murder of Etan Patz after the jury deliberated for 9 days.  Hernandez became a suspect in 2012 after the police found out he made several confession’s he killed Etan.  The defense team argued that Hernandez was not of sound mind, and mentally challenged with a borderline IQ, and had told inconsistent stories.  Ramos was the killer (read more about this at bottom of post), not Hernandez. The prosecution team used his recorded confession as proof he committed the crime. Hernandez has gone through two previous trials that ended in a mistrial.  Etan’s body has never been found.


UPDATE 2/15 – The murder trial has begun.  Today, Feb. 12, 2015 in court the video that Hernandez made was viewed by the court.

Hernandez stated that he offered Etan a soda and then he followed him to the basement in 1979.  Once there, Hernandez said he put his hands around Etan’s neck and began to choke him.

“I started to choke him… I wanted to let go but I just couldn’t,” Hernandez said in a chilling video confession played for jurors in his murder trial Tuesday.”

He also added that Etan was still breathing when he put him in a cardboard box with a plastic bag around his neck.


UPDATE:  7/31/13 -The murder trial for Pedro Hernandez is expected to begin next spring, a NY Judge stated on Wednesday, when Pedro appeared in court.

A defense lawyer says Hernandez is schizophrenic and bipolar and his admission was false.


UPDATE:  Pedro Hernandez, 51, of  Maple Shade, N.J. , was arrested last week after the NYPD said he gave a lengthy confession that he was responsible for killing Etan Patz.

Hernandez remains held at Bellevue psychiatric hospital for an ongoing assessment of his mental state.  He’s been charged with second-degree murder.


UPDATE:  April 22, 2012,  Law enforcement have ended their digging at the scene after “nothing conclusive was found” from a four-day excavation.


UPDATE:  April 2012, Today, 33 years after 6-year-old Etan Patz’s disappearance, who would later become the first child to have his face appear on a milk carton, the FBI and NYPD are searching the basement of a building on 127B Prince Street in SoHo for Etan’s remains, reports NBC New York News.

Pedro Hernandez mug shot

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne told NBC New York news that have found a dry wall in the basement that wasn’t there in 1979, and authorities are going to remove it.  They plan to be at the building throughout the week and possibly the weekend.


 Previous story:

May 25, 1979, a 6-year old boy, wearing his favorite Eastern Airlines Future Flight Captain hat, walked two blocks to the bus stop in SoHo and disappeared. That little boy was Etan Patz and for weeks, Etan’s picture was everywhere, as bloodhounds and neighbors searched for him.

For a whole generation of people in 1979, it was as the world had changed. Letting your child walk to school or spend an entire day outside playing in the neighborhood in the summertime, was something that many parents would not let their children ever do again.

After several weeks of being the center of attention, Etan’s parents Stan and Julie began to shun the media.  They had lost hope, but not enough to move. “My God, what if we moved and he somehow found his way back?” said the Patz’s.

Jose Ramos, 71, who is currently serving time in a Pennsylvania prison for child molestation, was questioned about Etan’s disappearance in 1979.  He was a handyman who had connections to Etan’s former babysitter.  Ramos admitted to taking a boy to his apartment on that day, but said he let him go, and without any evidence the U.S. Attorney was not able to charge Ramos with the crime.  Later Ramos changed his story and denied having anything to do with it.

Ramos is scheduled to be released from prison on November 11, 2012.  Note:  According to the NY Post in April 2016,  Supreme Court Justice Joan Kenney reversed a $2.7 million civil ruling issued in 2004 that said convicted child molester José Ramos killed the 6-year-old in 1979.  At that writing, Ramos was still in jail, reflecting that he had not been released from prison in 2012.  He could have been charged with another crime, the previous date could have been extended for some reason, or he could have gotten out in 2012 and committed another crime, I don’t know which as I was not able to dig up any information.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan claimed May 25th as National Missing Children’s Day, and in the mid-1980’s, Etan’s photo was one of the first on the milk carton campaigns.

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Jerrie Dean, who is retired from Federal Law Enforcement, is the Founder of Missing Persons of America.

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