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The Disappearance of Etan Patz

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The Disappearance of Etan Patz

Post  milly on Sun 30 Oct - 21:44

The Disappearance of Etan Patz




The morning of May 25, 1979, was hectic at the New York City home of Stanley and Julie Patz. They lived in a converted loft in Manhattan's Soho district, pioneers in a section of the city that would later become the place-to-be for New York trendsetters. Soho had been Manhattan's manufacturing zone, characterized by block after block of 19th century, iron-fronted factories standing shoulder to shoulder. On overcast days it was easy to imagine the gloomy sweatshop conditions of old New York, but in the 1970s, a fair number of these buildings were dark and empty, and the streets were desolate and forbidding at night. Still, people were making their homes in the neighborhood, breathing new life into it. Artists were first drawn to the area, attracted to the large, open spaces and cheap rents. Stanley Patz, a photographer, and his wife Julie lived in a loft on Prince Street with their three children: Shira, then age 8; Etan, 6; and Ari, 2.

Etan Patz Missing Poster
Etan Patz Missing Poster

Julie ran a day-care center out of her home. On the morning of May 25, as was her routine, Julie got her own children ready for the day as she prepared for the 14 preschoolers she cared for. As Julie dished out breakfast for her family, little Etan started agitating to walk himself to the bus stop again. He'd been asking if he could for some time now. A six-week school bus strike had just ended; the buses were scheduled to resume service that day. During the strike, the Patzes had hired a woman to walk Etan to school, but now that the buses were back, Etan pleaded with his parents to let him walk the two blocks to the bus stop by himself. Etan was a good boy, and it was a close-knit neighborhood where the residents watched out for the children, so the Patzes gave in and told him he could walk to the bus stop like a big boy.Etan was elated. He was dressed all in blue that day—blue pants, blue corduroy jacket, and blue sneakers with distinctive fluorescent stripes along the sides. He carried a blue cloth bag with an elephant pattern on the fabric. And as usual he was wearing his black "Future Flight Captain" pilot's cap, which covered his straight, light-brown hair. He pulled it down low over his brow, shading his blue eyes. He wore his prized cap all the time, even to bed. He'd bought it at an outdoor flea market for 10 cents.

Julie took Etan downstairs to the street and gave him a dollar for a soft drink at the local bodega. It was a misty morning, and the pavement was wet. Julie watched Etan as he started his big journey, two short blocks to the corner of Prince and West Broadway where the bus would pick him up. She kept her eye on him as he proceeded to the first corner at Wooster Street. After he crossed, Julie went back upstairs, confident that Etan could make it the rest of the way by himself. It was just 150 feet to the bus stop.

A woman who lived nearby saw Etan as he stood on the corner of Wooster and Prince, a relatively quiet intersection, as he waited to cross. A mailman also saw him at that intersection. They were the last people known to see Etan Patz.

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The Boy on the Milk Carton

Post  milly on Sun 30 Oct - 21:45




The school bus arrived at the West Broadway stop at 8:10 a.m. A group of children got on, but Etan Patz wasn't with them. Later that morning at the Independence Plaza School on Greenwich Street, Etan's first-grade teacher noticed his absence but failed to report it to the principal's office. Julie Patz was unaware that her son was missing until that afternoon. The bus returned to the West Broadway stop at 3:15 p.m. The neighbor who always picked up Etan along with his own daughter was puzzled when Etan didn't get off the bus. His daughter informed him that Etan hadn't been in school that day. The man wondered why Julie or Stanley hadn't called to let him know that Etan was staying home that day.

At the Patzes' loft, Julie was beginning to worry. Etan should have been home by now. She called the neighbor who usually escorted Etan and learned for the first time that Etan hadn't been in school that day. Julie immediately called the police, then called her husband who raced home.

Stan & Julie Patz on balcony looking for Etan


NYPD Detective William Butler got the call from his dispatcher at 5:15 p.m., and he and his partner drove directly to the Patzes' loft. As soon as Detective Butler spoke to Etan's parents, he knew instinctively that this was not a typical lost-child situation. In most cases it's just a case of crossed signals, kids thinking they have their parents' permission to go to a friend's house when they really don't. Other kids just wander off and play hooky. But Butler felt this case was different.

The search for Etan Patz began that evening. Nearly 100 officers combed the area, knocking on doors, searching rooftops and basements. The Patzes' apartment was used as a temporary command post because Etan knew his phone number. Julie and Stanley hovered by the phone, praying for him to call. The police stood by in case a kidnapper called in with a ransom demand.

The night wore on. Just before midnight it started to rain. Julie fretted because Etan had left that morning with only a light jacket. Detective Butler quietly worried that the rain would wash away Etan's scent. Bloodhounds were being brought in from upstate, but they weren't scheduled to arrive until 8 a.m. He hoped there'd be something left for the hounds to smell.

The next morning when the bloodhounds finally arrived, they were given a pair of Etan's pajamas to identify their subject, then they were sent out into the streets with their handlers. In the meantime the search area was expanded to encompass the entire lower end of Manhattan from 14th Street to Battery Park. Police helicopters hovered over the search zone, scanning rooftops. Police boats scoured the waterways.

The police appealed to the public for any tip that could lead to the boy's whereabouts. Toll-free telephone numbers were set up, and calls started pouring in, some from as far away as California. Neighborhood residents helped in the search, papering the city with color posters of Etan's face. The media jumped on the story and propagated several erroneous leads regarding Etan Patz sightings in Boston and other places.

Etan Patz missing poster


On Sunday, May 27, a witness came forward who claimed to have seen a boy who fit Etan's description talking to a "suspicious-looking man" three blocks from the corner of Prince and Wooster Streets where Julie had last seen her son. Under hypnosis, the witness described the man as white, about 40 years old, with freckles and dyed blond hair. It was a tenuous lead because the witness wasn't sure if the boy she'd seen was actually Etan Patz, but the police couldn't discount any possibility.

For days it seemed that Etan's smiling face was everywhere—on lamp poles, in store windows, in the newspapers, on television. The police continued the search, giving it everything they had. But on June 6, 13 days after he disappeared, the emergency response was terminated. Etan Patz's disappearance remained an open case, but most of the officers who had taken part in the search were eventually reassigned to other cases. But for Detective Butler, Etan's case was still very much on the front burner. Nearly every day he would drive down Prince Street at 8 a.m., imagining what might have happened to Etan on the morning of May 25, hoping that something would occur to him that he hadn't thought of before, that he would see something that would trigger an idea. He visited the scene every morning for years, and Julie Patz took comfort in looking out her window and seeing his car pass by. As long as the case was still active, Etan might still be alive.

But weeks turned into months and months turned into years. Etan became the first missing child to be featured on a milk carton. The search for the skinny, middle-aged, blond man with freckles was ultimately fruitless. It wasn't until 1982 that detectives in the Bronx picked up a suspect in an unrelated crime and stumbled upon a solid lead. The suspect was a known pedophile.

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I Was Ready to Explode

Post  milly on Sun 30 Oct - 21:46

I Was Ready to Explode


Jose Antonio Ramos

Jose Antonio Ramos was a drifter who sold cheap jewelry and small toys on the street to get by. His graying hair was long and unkempt, and his beard hung down to his chest. He weighed 180 pounds and stood five feet nine inches, his posture was hunched. Despite his off-putting appearance, his voice was unusually soothing and gentle. NYPD officers arrested him in 1982 for allegedly attempting to lure two young boys into the drainage tunnel where he'd been living. In searching the tunnel, the police found several photographs of young boys, most of them with light-colored hair similar to Etan's. Detectives questioned Ramos about his interest in young boys and asked if he knew anything about Etan Patz. He denied knowing anything about the missing child, but he did say that he knew the woman who had walked Etan to the bus stop every morning during the school bus strike.

The detectives proceeded cautiously. Could it be possible that after all this time, they had stumbled upon the first solid lead in the coldest missing person's case the city had ever seen? They urged Ramos to explain his relationship with the woman who had worked for the Patz family, but the suspect was cautious himself. He refused to say any more about the woman. He did, however, reveal that in 1979 when Etan had disappeared, he had suffered a nervous breakdown and that he had been hearing a voice in his head. It "would try to force me to get violent," he said.

"I had to hold it back," he said during the videotaped interrogation. "I had to do a lot of really forceful holding back, you know. 'Cause I was... I was ready to explode."

Ramos said nothing more about Etan Patz.

Detectives tracked down the woman who had been hired to walk Etan to the bus stop during the strike. The woman admitted that she had been seeing Ramos in 1979. At the time Ramos had been renting an apartment on the Lower East Side. She broke down into tears when she revealed that Ramos' interest in her was just a ploy to get to her young son whom he had molested on several occasions. She never attempted to bring charges against Ramos.

Ramos was clearly a dangerous individual, but the police didn't have enough evidence to charge him with a crime. They had no choice but to release him.

****

Three years later, in 1985, federal prosecutor Stuart GraBois was assigned to the Patz case. His boss at the time, then U.S. Attorney Rudy Giuliani, instructed him to do whatever it took to get a conviction, and Giuliani promised to give GraBois whatever he needed to make that happen. GraBois started poring over the old files. When he read the police reports on Ramos, he decided the man deserved further investigation. By this time Ramos was incarcerated at Rockview State Penitentiary in Pennsylvania, serving a sentence on an unrelated child molestation conviction. GraBois arranged to have Ramos brought to New York for questioning, and U.S. marshals escorted the suspect to GraBois' office in lower Manhattan.

Oddly, when Ramos was brought to New York, he thought the authorities there were after him for tax evasion. Two detectives from the NYPD Missing Persons Squad, Robert Shaw and Daniel Cavallo, sat in on the interview. Ramos was read his Miranda rights and offered a lawyer if he wanted one. He declined, saying that he didn't need a lawyer. He had read up on criminal law while in prison and become a "jailhouse lawyer," offering legal advice to other inmates at Rockview. Ramos was in good spirits as the interview began. Apparently he was looking forward to matching wits with a real attorney.

GraBois was patient. For an hour and a half, he questioned Ramos about his background, his childhood, and his prison experiences. Ramos remained cool and seemed to enjoy the attention. Then GraBois finally dropped the bomb: "How many times did you have sex with Etan Patz?" he asked.

Ramos' face sagged. He was visibly rattled. As reported by Edward Klein in Vanity Fair, Ramos started to sob. "I'll tell you about it," he said. "I'll tell you everything. I never told anyone any of this before. I want to get it off my chest."

Ramos said that he saw a boy who fit Etan Patz's description in Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village "that morning." The boy was alone, "bouncing a ball." The park is roughly four city blocks north of the Patzes' home in Soho.

GraBois asked him what the boy looked like. Blond and blue-eyed, Ramos said. He then described Etan's distinctive blue sneakers with the "bright strips." Ramos said he invited the boy to his apartment to watch television.

GraBois asked Ramos why he wanted the boy to go with him.

"For sex," Ramos said.

Ramos described his attempts to molest the boy, but the boy "wasn't interested," so Ramos gave up. He said he then took the boy for a walk through the Village and finally put him on a subway "to visit his aunt in Washington Heights." The Patzes have no relatives in Washington Heights.

GraBois and the detectives expressed their disbelief, but Ramos clung to his story. He said that the next night he saw television news reports on the search for Etan Patz, and he was "90 percent sure" that this was the boy he had taken to his apartment. Ramos claimed that he left his apartment and tried to help in the search for Etan himself. In his gut, GraBois felt that Ramos had not parted company with Etan Patz at the subway stop as he claimed and that Ramos was responsible for what happened to the boy. If Ramos hadn't murdered the boy to eliminate a witness to his pedophilia, he might have sold Etan to another child molester or an illegal adoption broker. GraBois pressed Ramos to come clean, but the man wouldn't say anything more about Etan Patz. He finally said that he wanted to tell GraBois everything, but "maybe I better have a lawyer here." By law, GraBois had to terminate the interrogation until Ramos was provided legal representation. Later, as the suspect was escorted out of GraBois' office, Ramos told Detective Shaw that when he finally told them everything, Shaw would get a "promotion" and become "famous."

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The Light-Haired Teenage Boy

Post  milly on Sun 30 Oct - 21:47



Jose Antonio Ramos never made a full confession. In subsequent interrogations, he flitted around the issue but basically stuck to his original story: he had taken a young boy who might have been Etan Patz to his apartment for sex and released him later that day. The police and prosecutors handling the case were sure he was lying, but they had no proof. Charges could not be brought against him. But Stuart GraBois was not about to let Ramos serve out the remainder of his sentence in Pennsylvania and go free. The Patz family deserved to know what had happened to their son, and GraBois vowed to do everything he possibly could to bring Ramos to justice.

Ramos, a Puerto Rican-American, was born in the Bronx on July 23, 1943. The oldest of five brothers, he claimed to have had sexual relations with one of his brothers when they were children. He also claimed to have been molested by an uncle. After dropping out of high school, he enlisted in the Navy in 1960. At various times he has claimed to have received decorations and commendations in the Navy and has boasted of having held an executive position in a New York advertising firm, accomplishments that cannot be substantiated.

By the early '70s he had become a drifter, bumming his way around the country, earning money selling used merchandise on the streets. Over the years he had been arrested several times in several different states for a variety of crimes from burglary and battery to "exposing his person."

When he was arrested in the Bronx in 1982 for allegedly luring young boys into his makeshift drainage-tunnel residence, the police were unable to assemble enough evidence to bring charges, but five months later he was arrested again, this time at a video-game arcade in Times Square, for propositioning three young boys between the ages of 9 and 12. Charges were filed against Ramos but were later dropped when the boys, all of them street-tough delinquents, failed to answer subpoenas for their testimony.

In 1983 Ramos showed up outside Watersmeet, Michigan, where several thousand members of the Rainbow Family, a loose collective of hippie holdovers, New Agers, and assorted free spirits, were having their annual gathering. Ramos was observed handing out Star Wars figurines and trading cards to the children at the convocation's Kid Village. His behavior alarmed some of the caregivers, and they alerted the Rainbow Family's internal security force, the Shanti Sena, who asked Ramos to leave. He departed without putting up a fuss.

Two years later he showed up at the Rainbow Family annual gathering at the Mark Twain Forrest in Missouri. He was traveling with a light-haired teenage boy. They'd arrived in a 1978 blue Ford school bus that Ramos had bought at an auction in Coconut Grove, Florida. Once again Ramos was spotted hanging around Kid Village, handing out small toys and trinkets, and the Shanti Sena were immediately alerted. They remembered Ramos from their last encounter with him, and this time they took his picture and kept an eye on him. While at the gathering, Ramos made friends with a couple from Erie, Pennsylvania, and their two little boys.

After the Rainbow Family reunion, Ramos showed up unannounced at this couple's home on several occasions. Whenever he came, he offered to do work around the house—painting, car repairs, whatever needed doing. The couple eventually trusted Ramos enough to let him baby-sit their boys while they were away for a day or so. They later discovered that Ramos had molested one or both of the children while they were under his care.

Incredibly, the following year Ramos and the teenage boy arrived at the next Rainbow Family gathering at Hearts Content in Pennsylvania's Allegheny National Forest. Once again the Shanti Sena caught him hanging around Kid Village, and this time they followed him back to his blue bus and banged on the door. Ramos was inside with his teenage friend and a little boy he'd met at the gathering. He swore he hadn't touched the child, but the Shanti Sena didn't believe him. They photographed both him and the light-haired teenager, and gave Ramos a stern warning to stay away from the children. At least one of the Shanti Sena was convinced that Ramos was scouting out children he could kidnap and sell.

Sensing that they meant business, Ramos abandoned his companions and fled from the gathering with only his dog, an akita named Jesse. But the Shanti Sena finally decided it was time to notify the police about this man. State troopers intercepted Ramos near Route 80 in Shippenville, Pennsylvania. He was arrested and charged with "involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, statutory rape, and indecent assault." He confessed to sexually assaulting the child in his bus, but because the police failed to read him his Miranda rights, the confession had to be thrown out and the case was dropped.

Ramos went free but not for long. The next year he was convicted of molesting the two young boys in Erie and sentenced to prison at Rockview State Penitentiary in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.


Etan Patz

His blue bus, which had been impounded by the police in Shippenville, was declared abandoned and sold to a salvage dealer who towed it away and cleaned out its contents. Among the items found in the bus was Ramos' diary. The man who found it flipped through it quickly, decided it was worthless, and tossed it into the fire where he was burning the rest of Ramos' trash. No one will ever know if Ramos had written anything that could have connected him to the disappearance of Etan Patz.

But what became of the light-haired teenage boy who had been traveling with Ramos? The Shanti Sena had noted in 1986 that he was about 13 or 14, which was about how old Etan Patz would have been. Could this have been him? What happened to him after Ramos had fled the Rainbow Family gathering?

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"He's a Predator"

Post  milly on Sun 30 Oct - 21:47

"He's a Predator"

Federal Prosecutor Stuart GraBois had Ramos transported from prison in Pennsylvania to his office in New York for interviews on several occasions. Sometimes Ramos would be a wiseass, once showing up wearing a yarmulke and speaking in a Yiddish accent. Other times he behaved himself, but he always clung to his original story. Yes, he admitted, he had been with a boy who could have been Etan Patz the day Etan disappeared, but he did not harm the boy. Ramos insisted time and again that he had put the boy on a subway headed for his "aunt in Washington Heights." But when GraBois found out about the charges that were dropped in Warren County, Pennsylvania, on a technicality, he took a new tack. At one of the interviews, he made Ramos a solemn promise. If Ramos didn't start cooperating, GraBois would get himself deputized in the state of Pennsylvania and try that case himself. He wasn't bluffing. If he couldn't persuade Ramos to confess to what he had done with Etan Patz, GraBois would make sure that Ramos would stay imprisoned for as long as the law allowed. Ramos was taken back to Rockview, and GraBois set the wheels in motion for his legal debut in Pennsylvania.

While investigating the Warren County case, GraBois received a surprise assist from the members of the Shanti Sena who had been alerted to Ramos' suspicious behavior at Rainbow Family gatherings. Overcoming their counter-culture distrust of law enforcement, the Shanti Sena gave GraBois the Polaroid they had taken of the teenager who had been traveling with Ramos. As soon as he saw it, GraBois was afraid to even think that after all these years this could possibly be Etan Patz. The photo was sent to FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., where it was compared with photos of Etan's parents when they were in their early teens as well as photos of Etan's siblings. Existing photos of 6-year-old Etan were fed into a computer that aged the image and predicted what Etan would look like at age 14. The photo the computer produced was nearly identical to the Polaroid of the teenager who had been traveling with Ramos.

Still, GraBois was reluctant to jump to conclusions. He had learned from the Shanti Sena that the teenager's parents ran an orphanage in Columbus, Ohio. GraBois and his investigators flew to Ohio and searched for this teenager. They learned that the boy had been adopted, which would have been a logical cover story if Ramos had sold Etan to the owners of the orphanage. GraBois wanted to believe that this was indeed Etan Patz, but he knew that he needed proof, and he was determined to get it. Before attempting an approach, GraBois wanted as much information as he could find. Further investigation revealed that the teenager had been arrested, which meant his fingerprints had to be on file in Ohio. Thrumming with anticipation, the investigators had the fingerprints analyzed and compared to Etan's fingerprints. When the results came back, the news was disappointing. The fingerprints didn't match. Police finally approached the teenager and obtained samples for DNA analysis. Once again, no match. The teenager wasn't Etan Patz.

Nevertheless, GraBois pressed on with the Warren County case against Ramos. His investigators located the little boy who had been in the bus with Ramos at Hearts Content and discovered that he had indeed been molested by Ramos. GraBois figured that, even if he couldn't solve the Etan Patz case, another conviction would keep Ramos off the streets that much longer, sparing more children from the man's abuse.

The trial began in October 1990. Ramos, now clean shaven and with short hair, spoke to reporters as if he were insane, inviting them to a "shrimp dinner" at the jail that night. Ramos, the jailhouse lawyer, had already filed numerous motions with the court, and in a letter to the judge he admitted his crime and asked that the child he had molested not be put through the anguish of having to relive the incident in court. The request was unnecessary. His attorney had already worked out a plea bargain with prosecutors in which Ramos would plead guilty to oral intercourse if the charges of anal intercourse were dropped. GraBois agreed to the deal because he, like Ramos, did not want to put the boy through the turmoil of testimony in open court. The judge sentenced Ramos to 10 to 20 years on top of his existing sentence. It was the strictest sentence the law would allow.

Some felt that GraBois had missed a golden opportunity to get Ramos on the stand and grill him about Etan Patz, but GraBois didn't think that Ramos could be intimidated. GraBois' strategy was to pile so many years on top of Ramos that he might finally see the logic of coming clean. GraBois was willing to have him transferred to a more desirable federal penitentiary in exchange for the truth about Etan Patz. GraBois even sweetened the deal by offering to reunite Ramos with family members he hadn't seen in more than 18 years. But Ramos didn't budge from his original story, and so he was sent back to Rockview to serve hard time.

****

Ramos was subsequently transferred to the Smithfield Correctional Institution in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. Two inmates who had served time with Ramos over the years each swore that Ramos had separately told them details about Etan Patz, but when confronted with these statements, Ramos insisted that he knew nothing more than he'd already admitted.

In October 1985 the focus of the investigation shifted to Israel where a previously unpublished photo of Etan appeared in an Israeli magazine with the caption "Etan Ben-Haim." The photo had been taken by Stanley Patz, who had given prints to friends and relatives. It was not one of the photos that had been released to the press, which made the investigators suspicious. Stuart GraBois traveled to Israel and enlisted the help of the Israeli police, but attempts to track down the source of that photograph yielded nothing of substance. The focus of the investigation remained on Jose Antonio Ramos.

In the summer of 2000, police in New York did a thorough search of the building on East 4th Street on Manhattan's Lower East Side where Ramos had lived in 1979. They scoured the apartment and the basement, looking for bone fragments that could be used for DNA analysis. Their efforts were exhaustive but ultimately fruitless.

"He's a predator," Stanley Patz said of Ramos in an interview broadcast on 60 Minutes II, "and he should never be allowed to be near children again. He should be kept behind bars until he's too old to walk."

Every year on October 9, which is Etan's birthday, and May 25, the day he disappeared, Stanley Patz sends Ramos a copy of Etan's missing-persons leaflet. On the back he always types the same message: "What have you done with my little boy?"

On November 15, 2000, Stanley and Julie Patz signed a petition asking the court to declare Etan legally dead so that they could file a wrongful-death suit against Ramos. They are convinced that Ramos is responsible for the disappearance of their son.

Ramos' sentence will be up on March 13, 2014, unless he is granted parole. He was denied parole in June 2000, but he will become eligible for reconsideration in 2003.

Etan Patz, if he's still alive, will be 36 years old this year.

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Etan's Parents To Sue Child Molester

Post  milly on Sun 30 Oct - 21:48




http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2000/09/05/national/main230578.shtml
Police Have Reopened Investigation


(CBS) The parents of Etan Patz are preparing to sue imprisoned child molester Jose Antonio Ramos, the man they believe killed their son, The Daily News reports.

The lawyer for Stanley and Julia Patz, Brian O'Dwyer, tells the News, "The point is to establish once and for all that Ramos is responsible for Etan's death."

The suit could also unearth some information that help lead to criminal charges against Ramos, O'Dwyer says.

The Daily News reports Ramos was the boyfriend of Etan's babysitter on May 25, 1979, the day the 6-year-old disappeared on his two-block walk to his school bus in downtown New York City.

Former federal prosecutor Stuart GraBois, who worked on the Patz case, says Ramos has admitted taking Etan to his apartment, but denied killing the child.

However, a CBS News investigation reveals that at least two inmates independently claim that Ramos told them details about Etan's disappearance.

Manhattan prosecutors recently reopened the case, removing ash, dirt, and a coal-fired furnace from the basement floor of Ramos' old apartment building in August.

Ramos, serving 10 to 20 years for sexually abusing two boys in Pennsylvania, was denied parole in June. His sentence runs until 2014.

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Re: The Disappearance of Etan Patz

Post  milly on Sun 30 Oct - 21:49

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etan_Patz


Etan Kalil Patz (October 9, 1972 – unknown; legally declared dead in 2001 was a kidnapped American child. He was 6 years old when he disappeared in lower Manhattan, New York on May 25, 1979. At the time, news coverage of Patz's disappearance was made into a media circus in the New York City area. He is arguably the most famous missing child of New York City.His disappearance helped spark the missing children's movement, including new legislation and various methods for tracking down missing children, such as the milk carton campaigns of the mid-1980s. Etan was the first child ever to be pictured on the side of a milk carton.
On May 25, 2010, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. announced that he had reopened the case into Patz's disappearance.

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Re: The Disappearance of Etan Patz

Post  milly on Sun 30 Oct - 21:49

Disappearance

On the morning of Friday, May 25, 1979, 6-year-old Etan Patz put on his prized blue captain's hat and left his SoHo apartment by himself, for the very first time, to walk the two blocks to catch the school bus. He did not reach the bus stop.

When he did not return home from school at 3:30 that afternoon, his mother reported him missing. An intense search, using nearly 100 police officers and a team of bloodhounds, began that evening and would continue for weeks. Various circumstances surrounding this case, such as it being Etan's first time outside alone, made it a high-profile, media-driven case.

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Re: The Disappearance of Etan Patz

Post  milly on Sun 30 Oct - 21:50

Suspect

In 1991, jailhouse informants claimed that Jose Antonio Ramos, a convicted child sexual abuser imprisoned in Pennsylvania, finally admitted to direct involvement in Etan's disappearance. Ramos had been a friend of Etan's one-time babysitter. In a special feature on missing children, the New York Post reported on October 23, 1999, that Ramos was the prime suspect in Etan's disappearance. Ramos was known to the Patz family and was the prime suspect all along, but in the early 1980s they were still unable to prosecute Ramos. Ramos was declared responsible for Etan's death in 2004 in a New York civil case but remains unprosecuted.

Etan's parents, Stanley and Julie Patz, pursued this civil case against Ramos. They were awarded a 'symbolic' sum of $2 million, which they have never collected. Ramos is presently serving a 20-year prison term for child molestation in the State Correctional Institute, Dallas, PA. His scheduled release date is November 7, 2012.

Each year, on the anniversaries of Etan's birthday and disappearance, Stan Patz sends Ramos a copy of his son's missing child poster. On the back he types the same message: "What did you do to my little boy?".

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Film

Post  milly on Sun 30 Oct - 21:50

Film

In the 1983 movie Without a Trace, starring Kate Nelligan and Judd Hirsch, a 6-year-old boy disappears while walking to school in Brooklyn. The Stanley R. Jaffe film is loosely based on the Patz case. While in production, the film's working title was "Still Missing", based on the Beth Gutcheon novel.

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Etan Patz: Imprisoned Molester Confesses?

Post  milly on Sun 30 Oct - 21:52

Etan Patz: Imprisoned Molester Confesses?


By THOMAS BERMAN
May 29, 2009

On May 25, 1979, a little boy left for school and never came home. Thirty years and countless investigations later, his family is hopeful the time has finally come to prosecute the man they believe is responsible.

Etan Patz was 6 years old, the middle child of Stan and Julie Patz, who lived in the SoHo district of New York City. Today, SoHo is a bustling, high-end shopping and tourism area. Back then, it was an emerging neighborhood, full of artists and adventurers. As Stan described it: "It had the lowest crime rate in New York City, mostly because there was no one here."

Because it was safe and very familiar, Stan and Julie had decided to allow Etan walk alone to his school bus stop two blocks away. Etan had asked for permission for some time, and on this day, they finally agreed. It was a different era -- in those days it was not uncommon for children to make such a solo journey.


"At some point in every parent's life, they send their children to school alone," Stan said. "Did we do it too early? Obviously we did. Every parent wants their children to be outgoing, they want them to be friendly. When do you let them out of your sight? When they're 21?"

By late in the afternoon, when Etan had not returned home, the Patzes called the police. Officers searched the neighborhood. Stan Patz, a commercial photographer, scoured his darkroom. He had taken many photographs of Etan, and he took those pictures around the area, showing anyone he could. No one had any information to offer.

It was a difficult investigation, according to Lisa Cohen, author of a new book, "After Etan," containing never-before-revealed details of the case. "There were no leads. There was no crime scene. They couldn't dust for fingerprints ... They didn't even know where he disappeared."


But those pictures helped turn the case into much more than just another crime. The images helped keep the story alive over the years and served as a reminder of lost innocence. Many people remember the case, and some say the way we raise our kids in this country forever changed on that day.

Anyone wishing to offer information in regards to this investigation is asked to call FBI/NYPD Cold Case personnel at (212)384-2200. All calls will be kept confidential.



At first, detectives considered the Patzes as possible suspects. But they quickly determined the parents had no involvement. So who did? It would take years before a suspect emerged.

His name was Jose Antonio Ramos. Some boys had accused him of trying to lure them inside a drainpipe, where he lived in 1982 in the Bronx. When police searched the drainpipe, they found photographs of Ramos and young boys who resembled Etan.

Ramos said the boys were "friends," and none turned out to be Etan. Ramos did tell detectives, however, that his former girlfriend had worked for the Patzes, walking Etan to and from school during a bus strike.

To this day, Stan Patz wonders why police did not make more of the direct link between what he calls this "horrible man" and his family. When no one pressed charges, the case was dropped and Ramos vanished.

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Re: The Disappearance of Etan Patz

Post  milly on Sun 30 Oct - 21:53


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Re: The Disappearance of Etan Patz

Post  milly on Sun 30 Oct - 21:54

Etan Patz: Imprisoned Molester Confesses?

May 29, 2009

He might have disappeared for good if not for a former federal prosecutor named Stuart GraBois. After taking over the case in 1985, GraBois labored persistently for justice for the Patz family. He eventually found out that Ramos was in custody in Pennsylvania in connection with an unrelated child molestation case.

GraBois brought Ramos to New York to meet face-to-face. Ramos had no idea why he was there. Out of the blue, GraBois asked him directly, "How many times did you have sex with Etan Patz?" According to GraBois, Ramos "froze" and said, "I'll tell you everything."

Ramos' response is now known as "the 90 percent confession." He admitted taking a young boy back to his apartment for sex on the day Etan disappeared and told GraBois he was 90 percent sure it was the boy he later saw on TV. As GraBois pointed out, "the only boy missing and on television that evening was Etan Patz." GraBois said that at that moment he "believed we had the right guy."

But the confession was not complete. Ramos did not use Etan's name and he claimed he had "put the boy on a subway."

GraBois himself would never hear the last 10 percent of the story that he was after. However, working with FBI agent Mary Galligan, he came up with a plan to get it another way.


During Ramos' time in lockup, two convicted criminals, acting separately, approached GraBois and Galligan. Each claimed to have knowledge about Ramos and volunteered to try to get more information from Ramos about the Patz case.

Etan Patz: The 'Ah Ha' Moment

The arrangement was special, according to Galligan. "The unique situation in this case, which I don't think I ever had again in my career was, we had two informants at the same time who didn't know there was another informant." Each convict's story could be corroborated by the other, making both stories more credible.

The first informant, called "John Morgan" in Cohen's book, told Galligan and GraBois that Ramos told him that he knew what happened to Etan. Ramos had even drawn a map of Etan's school bus route, pointing out that he knew Etan's stop was the third one, Morgan told the investigators. Galligan called this an "ah ha" moment in the case, "because there was no way that John could have known that information. I mean there are moments in this case that are beyond chilling ... Your mind has to take a moment to digest."

Then the second informant, "Jeremy Fischer," took his turn as Ramos' cellmate. A convicted con artist, Fischer's skills worked to perfection. "I set the stage and he spilled it, shall we say," Fischer told ABC News in a phone conversation from his current prison in Texas. "Pure and simple, it was a con!"

Ramos had a sex therapy workbook he needed to complete in order to be considered for parole. Fischer acted as his personal therapist, encouraging Ramos to "open up" about what he had done. Eventually, Fischer said, Ramos told him graphic details of what he had done that day. This time, according to Fischer, Ramos used Etan's name ... repeatedly. Fischer told the investigators that Ramos drew another map, identifying the exact spot where he claimed to have picked up Etan in SoHo and where he took him -- his apartment in the East Village. But he did not admit to killing the boy.


Last edited by milly on Sun 30 Oct - 21:55; edited 1 time in total

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Re: The Disappearance of Etan Patz

Post  milly on Sun 30 Oct - 21:55

Etan Patz: Imprisoned Molester Confesses?


May 29, 2009

When Morgan later returned to the cell, that last piece of the puzzle may have fallen into place. Morgan told GraBois and Galligan that Ramos woke him in the middle of the night screaming that "there is no body, they're never going to find a body." According to Morgan, Ramos had dreams he described to Morgan about people burning. Morgan said Ramos told him that he helped the superintendent in his old apartment building clean out the incinerator in the boiler and that the "firebox was big enough for, like, two people to crawl inside of."

Etan Patz: Authorities Decline to Prosecute

The information could potentially answer the difficult question of what happened to the body. But GraBois, as a federal agent, was never able to prosecute the case, because there was no evidence Etan was taken across state lines. The proper authority, the New York City district attorney, has so far declined to proceed.


GraBois thinks the lack of a body could be part of the reason for the holdup but admits, "I don't have an answer. ... I can't figure it out."

For Stan Patz, the 30th anniversary of the abduction is "our last best chance" of getting an indictment. There is an election coming for New York City district attorney this fall, and at least one candidate has said she is open to the first step: presenting the evidence to a grand jury.

In the meantime, Stan says he is doing what he always does at this time of year: he sends a special reminder to Ramos in prison that the case is not forgotten. He mails one of the old lost child posters to Ramos with a simple typewritten line on the back that reads: What did you do to my little boy?

Anyone wishing to offer information in regards to this investigation is asked to call FBI/NYPD Cold Case personnel at (212)384-2200. All calls will be kept confidential.

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Re: The Disappearance of Etan Patz

Post  milly on Sun 30 Oct - 21:56


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Re: The Disappearance of Etan Patz

Post  Not Born Yesterday on Fri 25 May - 9:15

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/man-held-over-us-boy-missing-33-years-175832949.html

Some news on the 33rd anniversary of this little boy's disappearance; he is the reason why International Missing Children's Day is 25th May.
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Re: The Disappearance of Etan Patz

Post  gillyspot on Fri 25 May - 9:42

After 33 Years, Police Make Arrest in Case of Etan Patz

A New Jersey man was arrested in the killing of Etan Patz, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly announced on Thursday, an extraordinary moment in a case that has gripped New York City’s psyche ever since the 6-year-old boy vanished in SoHo on his way to school in 1979.


The man, Pedro Hernandez, told investigators that he lured Etan to the basement of a bodega where Mr. Hernandez worked at the time with the promise of a soda, Mr. Kelly said. Once Etan was inside, Mr. Hernandez choked him, stuffed his body into a bag and took the bag about a block and a half away, where he left it out in the open with trash, Mr. Kelly said.

“He was remorseful, and I think the detectives thought that it was a feeling of relief on his part,” Mr. Kelly said during a news conference at Police Headquarters. “We believe that this is the individual responsible.”

The break in the case came a month after investigators spent five days excavating a SoHo basement near the spot where Etan disappeared. The search for his remains was fruitless.

But Mr. Kelly said the search had prompted a call to the missing persons squad earlier this month from a person who led them to Mr. Hernandez. The commissioner said that over the years since Etan’s disappearance, Mr. Hernandez told a family member and others that he had “done a bad thing and killed a child in New York.”

Mr. Hernandez had been making the claims since as far back as 1981, Mr. Kelly said, but he had never identified the child he had claimed to have hurt.

The news of the arrest was the latest chapter in a wrenching story that has tormented New York City since Etan’s disappearance 33 years ago on Friday in a neighborhood far grittier than today’s SoHo, with its tourist-clogged streets lined with boutiques and restaurants.

It is unclear whether investigators have been able to corroborate the account Mr. Hernandez has provided. Without any trace of human remains or other forensic evidence, any possible prosecution of him would face significant evidentiary hurdles.

Asked what about Mr. Hernandez’s confession had led detectives to find him credible, Mr. Kelly responded, “The fact that he had told this story to others in the past, and the specificity of what he said in the confession.” He said he did not know what the motive might have been.

Mr. Hernandez, 51, was charged with second-degree murder by the police. Mr. Kelly said he expected the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., to present Mr. Hernandez for arraignment on Friday, but could not say what charges would be filed.

Under the law, prosecutors will have to bring Mr. Hernandez before a grand jury within six days of the arrest and present sufficient evidence to convince them to vote for an indictment, or hold a preliminary hearing, an extremely rare occurrence.

And it was unclear on Thursday what evidence, beyond Mr. Hernandez’s confession, the prosecutors have in hand. Mr. Kelly acknowledged that there was no physical evidence implicating Mr. Hernandez, though he said the investigation was continuing.

Mr. Hernandez, who was 18 at the time Etan vanished, worked as a stockboy in a bodega at 448 West Broadway that is now an eyeglass store, Mr. Kelly said. Etan disappeared on the first morning his parents allowed him to walk alone from the family’s home on Prince Street to a school bus stop on West Broadway.

Mr. Hernandez was working in the basement, which had a separate door to the street, Mr. Kelly said. Etan was at the bus stop when Mr. Hernandez led him away and to the basement, Mr. Kelly said.

“It’s unlikely, very unlikely,” that Etan’s remains would be recovered, Mr. Kelly said.

Mr. Hernandez’s name was mentioned in a 1979 detective’s report as part of the investigation into Etan’s disappearance, Mr. Kelly said. The report listed him as an employee of the bodega, but Mr. Hernandez was never questioned by investigators, Mr. Kelly said.

“I can’t tell you why, 33 years ago, he wasn’t questioned,” he said. “We know that other people in the bodega were questioned.”

Etan’s family was told by the police ahead of time that Mr. Hernandez was going to be arrested in their son’s murder, Mr. Kelly said.

His father was “taken aback,” said Lt. Christopher Zimmerman, the commanding officer of the missing persons squad, and “overwhelmed to a degree.”

Shortly after Etan vanished, Mr. Hernandez left the store and moved to the Camden area in southern New Jersey, where he has many relatives, law enforcement officials said.
Investigators from the New York Police Department traveled to New Jersey and questioned Mr. Hernandez for several hours on Wednesday in the Camden County prosecutor’s office. Mr. Hernandez returned voluntarily to New York, where he led investigators to the address where he worked and described to them what he had done, Mr. Kelly said.

“They kept asking him, ‘Why did you do this?’ ” one law enforcement official said. “And he kept saying: ‘I don’t know. I don’t know.’ ”

Mr. Hernandez was placed into custody later on Wednesday and taken to the offices of the Manhattan district attorney, whose prosecutors are overseeing the inquiry by New York police detectives and agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Mr. Hernandez was emotional and broke down in tears during the confession, the law enforcement official said, adding that it was videotaped, which is standard practice in New Jersey.

During his time in South Jersey, Mr. Hernandez does not appear to have been in any trouble with the local authorities.

He and his wife, Rosemary, live in an apartment in the back of a modest two-story house in Maple Shade, a town of about 19,000 residents east of Camden. The man who rents the front part of the home said Mr. Hernandez and his wife worked with computers, were Pentecostals and hosted many holiday parties with their friends and relatives.

“They were good people, and he was a good neighbor,” said the man, Dan Wollick, 71, adding that he and Mr. Hernandez shared chores like mowing the lawn, raking leaves and shoveling snow.

The investigation into the boy’s disappearance and presumed death has seen a parade of suspects and a range of theories over the years. Last month, the F.B.I. and the Police Department tore apart the basement of a building on Prince Street, just doors away from the longtime Patz family home. Etan’s parents still live on the street. The search was based on a belief among investigators that a local handyman who kept a workshop in the basement in 1979 had abducted and murdered the boy and possibly buried his body there beneath a concrete floor.

A woman interviewed by The New York Times last month who ran a playgroup in SoHo at the time Etan disappeared recalled seeing mounds of garbage bags in the days after the boy vanished, which included Memorial Day weekend. “I always thought there were so many garbage bags out and why did they not search them,” said the woman, Judy Reichler, who now lives in New Paltz, N.Y. “For three days everyone piled bags on the street and then they got picked up.”

The mobilization in the city to find Etan began a new era in the country, marked by children’s faces on milk cartons and made-for-television dramas about kidnapped children. Jim Bogie, 62, a window salesman in Flushing, Queens, said his three children are now in their mid- to late 30s, about the same age Etan would be, and remembered on Thursday being horrified by the disappearance three decades ago.

“It was terrifying,” he said. “If it could happen to him, it could happen to anybody.”

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg spoke to reporters about Mr. Hernandez while he was being questioned but before he was arrested. “I certainly hope we are one step closer to bringing them some measure of relief,” the mayor said, referring to Etan’s family."

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/25/nyregion/man-claims-he-strangled-etan-patz-police-say.html?_r=1&smid=tw-share

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