Maple Shade Man Confesses To Killing Etan Patz – Reports
A man from Maple Shade has confessed to killing 6-year-old Etan Patz in New York in 1979.
New York City police commissioner Raymond Kelly said Thursday a person who’s in custody has implicated himself in the death of Patz, the 6-year-old boy whose disappearance 33 years ago on his way to school helped launch a missing children’s movement that put kids’ faces on milk cartons.
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The Star Ledger identifies the man as Pedro Hernandez of Maple Shade who reportedly confessed to kidnapping and strangling Patz during an interview yesterday with NYPD. Hernandez lured the boy to a nearby store according t0 WNBC TV. He then stuffed Etan into one or several bags reports the New York Daily News.
The Daily News also reports that some investigators are wary of Hernandez’s story while others believe he is telling the truth.
At the time of the boy’s disappearance, the man in custody lived in the same Manhattan neighborhood as Patz. He had been known to detectives for years, but it was unclear what brought them back to him this week.
The Camden County Prosecutor’s office says have assisted NYPD investigators in locating people they wanted to talk to and offered use of their facilities for interviews.
Hernandez’s emergence as a person of interest was not related to the search of a Manhattan basement in April, according to a person familiar with the investigation.
Both the person familiar with the probe and the official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the ongoing probe.
A woman who answered the door at Hernandez’ Maple Shade, N.J., home confirmed he was in custody.
Neighbors said he lived with a woman and a daughter who attends college. “I can’t believe something like that,” said Dan Wollick, 71, who rents the other apartment in home. “This guy, he doesn’t seem that way.”
New York Police are expected to release more details in a press conference today. He has been in London for a meeting on security for the Olympics.
33 YEAR ANNIVERSARY ON FRIDAY
Etan vanished on May 25, 1979, while walking alone to his school bus stop for the first time, two blocks from his home in New York’s SoHo neighborhood.
There was an exhaustive search by the police and a crush of media attention. The boy’s photo was one of the first of a missing child on a milk carton. Thousands of fliers were plastered around the city, buildings canvassed, hundreds of people interviewed. SoHo was not a neighborhood of swank boutiques and galleries as now, but of working-class New Yorkers rattled by the news.
The April excavation of a Manhattan basement yielded no obvious human remains and little forensic evidence that would help solve the decades-long mystery of what happened to the boy.
His parents, Stan and Julie Patz, were reluctant to move or even change their phone number in case their son tried to reach out. They still live in the same apartment, down the street from the building that was examined in April.
The family did not immediately return a message requesting comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.