[Updated at 2:37 p.m. ET]Â Investigators began jackhammering into the basement of a commercial building in Lower Manhattan on Thursday as part of a search for a 6-year-old boy who disappeared in May 1979 on his way to a bus stop in New York City.
"We're looking for human remains, clothing or other personal effects," New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said. "It's a very painstaking process."
Etan Patz's disappearance, considered a high-profile cold case, prompted authorities to splash the child's image on the sides of milk cartons in hopes of gathering more information. It is thought to be the first time that step was taken for a missing child.
"The FBI's Evidence Recovery Team is on the scene," FBI special agent Peter Donald said.
The excavation includes boring into the basement floors and walls of a SoHo building on Prince Street in Manhattan, near where the schoolboy is believed to have walked on his way to a bus stop more than three decades ago.
Dozens of police and federal agents have gathered outside the building and are expected to continue their search for the next five days.
Authorities have reason to think the new search could lead to the discovery of the boy's remains at that location, though remain wary after past leads in the case have not panned out, according to two sources.FULL STORY