New search for first missing child pictured on milk carton
April 19th, 2012
01:17 PM ET

New search for first missing child pictured on milk carton

[Updated at 2:37 p.m. ET] 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.

February 2011: HLN's "Nancy Grace: America's Missing" looks at Etan Patz case

soundoff (108 Responses)
  1. Sympathetic mom

    This is so sad. But closure for a family is immeasurable. I hope they can finally bring an end. Especially since everytime they search it reopens the wound to a family.
    The only small positive thing about this story is that due to this horrific event. Law enforcement has learned better ways to search for children and educate parents/schools/public on how to better protect them from monsters. They will never be 100% successful but improvements are how we better save lives.
    My son went missing at a park. It was the most horrific event in my life. I am so thankful for training and coordinated efforts by all law enforcement and first responders that safetly brought my baby home.

    April 19, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. amac

    Are they still picturing missing children on milk cartons? I haven't seen that since I can't remember when.

    April 19, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      the milk is no good either, the cows are on steroids that make the kids fat and the elitists still force on the public. there are no more pedegree milk cows in the USA.

      April 19, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mary

    Hope someone shuts the fool Nuggent up once and for all. What we need here is someone lile the jigsaw from Saw to take care and right justice with people like Nugget and the evil satan dwellers that kill innocent children.

    April 19, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • JC

      They will deal with Nugent as he deserves, by laughing at him and saying "You, a threat? Ha ha ha."

      April 19, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Who

      Nugget who? I went all through this story and there is no mention of anyone named Nugget.

      April 19, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. JC

    What the honk is closeisur? Are you yanking my chain?

    April 19, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. CRodeo

    Milk does a body good.

    April 19, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JC

    I saw Herman Cain on a chocolate milk carton. Have You Seen This Cat? Call Nine Nine Nine immediately.

    April 19, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  7. danmac

    The first time I saw Paul Newman's face on the side of a bottle of salad dressing, I thought he'd gone missing...

    April 19, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ruth A Farella

    Where is the boy ? Because, Jesus Christ (God) want to talk to the boy. And we wish to see the boy come back on Earth .

    April 19, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Samuel

      Oh geez! Sorry but your post has got to be the most lame post I ever have seen! Just saying... LAME!

      April 19, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Corinna

      Etan Patz was Jewish;I don't think jesus figures in here.

      April 19, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Syd

    May the police & fbi find evidence they need to help solve this case. Please keep this comment area on the 6 year old boy. That happened 1979 and we became more aware about our childrens safety. Respect the family as this is hard on them. Peace, they'll find closer.

    April 19, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ma & pa

    This missing chid, and many others, we remember. As parents, the subject is heartstoppingly terrifying. Experience has proven to us that molesters and killers are an evil that respects nothing except a force more lethal than they are. A little mother stands faint chance of protecting her family against them unless she can use the threat of lethal force, tougher than the attacker. That is the harsh reality of how it's been for a long time. No written law can stop the attacker from attacking, only a reliable weapon in the hands of the victim or protecter can defend them against the criminals who WILL have weapons if they want them, while sneering at all laws against them. We can't legislate a perfect world. That begins in the heart of each person. The perv lurking partway down the block after the child turned the corner might have been stopped had someone seen and yelled–made a scene–until help arrived, if anyone would have gotten involved. If the poor mother had hurried to the corner and peeked to see her child walking the alarm might have been raised earlier. How was she to know to do that? Be vigilant, NOT a vigilante.

    April 19, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Concerned Citizen

    That was in 1979... and here the schools STILL doesn't call home when a child isn't in school until AFTER school is let out for the day! How hard could it be with today's technology to notify a parent within that first hour -ESPECIALLY for grade schoolers! What a shame that has not been corrected yet in 2012!! Perhaps it coulld be named after Kyron Horman... or any of the so many missing children that will go missing this year during school hours!

    April 19, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Marggg

    C NN's reporter said "in the red building behind her" so I will tell you at the time that Etan went missing the ground floor was a restaurant named Food. The workers of food were there at 8am, they were interviewed. I believe that they had part of the basement. Try to get a reporter that covered it a the time.

    April 19, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. George

    While I have every sympathy for the family of this child, why is the government spending time and money on this case? It happened 43 years ago. No matter what happened to the boy, it is unlikely that finding his remains or finding out what happened to him will have any effect on public safety after all this time. The person responsible is either very old or dead. Law enforcement should spend their efforts on cases where the solution could help prevent additional crimes from taking place. They still have plenty of recent cases (within the last 10 to 20 years) that are still unsolved.

    April 19, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dino

      Why spend resources on this case? The prime suspect in this case is due to get out of prison in 6 months after serving 20 years for molesting a child.

      April 19, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Greek American

    Perhaps they want to keep the suspect in prison by charging him with the murder? Or maybe they just found some new evidence. I guess its hard to tell because it seems like they aren't releasing much info.

    April 19, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • U First

      @ Dino
      As a cop, you have the intelligent brain to solve murders.
      It's in your soul to help.
      Just like it's you with limited brain matter to ask why bother after all these years.
      Unless you have been a victim of a crime and had a child murdered, you have no idea what you are talking about.
      Your soul is never the same. Life just takes a horrible turn and you feel like the walking dead.
      You go about your daily routine, but you don't feel anything.
      The parents need answers and I'm glad the cops found evidence to at least give these dear parents closure.

      I hope to God Dino that you don't go thru anything like this. If you do, then you may have a small idea of what I'm talking about.

      Other than that, have the human decency to at least understand why. Unless you have no soul, which sounds like you do, you are truly already one of the walking dead on this planet.

      I pity you, you fool.

      April 20, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. U First

    I remember this child missing in 1979.
    It's so heartbreaking!!! My son was born in 1978.
    I can't imagine a parent's heartbreak all these years. Not knowing. Having no idea where your child is.
    And he was only 6!
    I'm glad they found evidence. I hope that they find something to put this dear family's horror to rest after more than 30 years of waiting.
    There's also a kid that went missing in San Francisco back in the 70's. He was the last one at the bus stop and never made it home either.
    What a shame to live in a society where sickos kidnap and murder innocent ones.
    I've been sick over this all these years.

    April 20, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
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