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. janerose

    V-a-l-l-e-y H-o-t-e-l in Palmer Alaska was where Palin's goons threatened me

    April 19, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sherri

    I just wonder what they think they'll find this much later. And why now? Has something happened to make them decide to search now?

    April 19, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • larry

      Please read the article.

      April 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • silkrose

      i dont know but atleast maybe if they find the body the family can have a peace of mind and get closure on this its hard losing a chld much less like this and not knowing whatever happen to it.

      April 19, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. whonoo

    It's an epidemic & of course we all agree the punishments need to be MUCH harsher, not sure if that would even deter these sicko's but at least make it so they dont get out again. IT's REDICULOUS the 2nd & 3rd chances these judges give these worthless beings. I remember this little boy going missing when i was 12. & all of them aftewards too.

    April 19, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Neeneko

      Harsher punishments have not worked.

      Also, this isn't an 'epidemic', there is just more reporting. This is part of the problem with how we implement 'punishment'... fabricated moral panic + lust for blood = dysfunctional legal system. In other words, you are a poorly informed bloodthrity idiot who is likely a danger to other.

      April 19, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. janerose

    Gentleman that Palin's church thought tried to burn it down was run over by another church member and killedd over over over "accidently "accio

    April 19, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      No one cares Jane

      April 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Post your issue somewhere else.

      April 19, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken


      April 19, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Squeezebox

    The milk carton didn't do any good, did it? The kid was still dead. It didn't lead anyone to the body, did it? The milk carton was an experiment that failed.

    April 19, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Heman

      Wow, what a sub-human, troglodyte, POS you are.

      April 19, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Who

      Soo...what is YOUR bright plan to help find these children?

      I remember this case well. My thoughts are with the family, as they are with all missing children.

      April 19, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • really

      As of 2011 7,356 children have been saved or found because someone saw their face on a milk carton.

      April 19, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Who

      So...what is YOUR bright plan to help find these children?

      I remember this case well. My thoughts are with the family, as they are with all missing children.

      April 19, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tengu

      Helped a lot of other kids though didnt iit? and spawned morketing type publicity to help moe missing kids and people like mailbox and magazine blow in cards, posters inside stores like Walmart, and shows like unsolved Mysteries and others didnt it?? So it WAS a success and you are a D1cK.

      April 19, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kim

    I have no idea why they have waited over 30 years to look everywhere in this apt complex for the little boys body. It is suspected that the killer/molester George Ramos possibly put the boys body in a large boiler or furnace in the apt complex's furnace room. The body would soon disentegrate if thats the case and there probably is no trace of him. This killer is getting released this year..his sentence is up. This monster should not ever walk free again.

    April 19, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Renee

    So I just watched the video...all I can think is WHY didn't the lazy mother walk her 6 year old child to the school bus such a short distance away. "she stuck her head out the window and called out to the mother of the little girl he usually wants to and from the bus stop with each day, to see if he was there AFTER school" only to be informed he NEVER got on the bus that morning???? He was long gone by then.

    April 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kari

      Because Renee, it was 1979. A very, very different time. When people felt safe....

      April 19, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      I know the story well, Brenda. The child had been begging his mom forever to allow him to walk to school by himself and she watched him from the apartment window until he turned the corner. It was his first day walking by himself. Would I have allowed it? No, but each parent is different.

      April 19, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Renee

    If he's alive he's like 33 years old now, and probably totally forgotten about a mother who didn't think enough of him to walk him 2 blocks to a school bus stop.

    April 19, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Renee

      Make that 39 going on 40 by now!

      April 19, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. mom

    When are we going to have town square hangings of these child killers anyone against it is a satanist

    love mom

    April 19, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • sipsen1


      "Town hangings" is what they do in Iran and China. Call me a Satanist if you'd like, but I think our society is more advanced than that.

      April 19, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. RF Burns

    Still hoping my ex appears on a milk carton.

    April 19, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Name*Dr. Kno

    They won't find him, he was abducted by space aliens.

    April 19, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tim

    "according to a source with knowledge of the investigation. It is not clear what that development is"
    Brilliant !

    April 19, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. kerri

    Maybe the perpetrator finally confessed.

    April 19, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. CJDJ

    Hopefully they bring closure to this case, then they can start looking for Johnny Gosch again too!

    April 19, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Thorson

    Since people are commenting un-related posts and CNN has apparently barred me from the political ticker blog Ill just say it here. Ted Nugent is a bloodthristy throwback who would gun down your pet once he killed every living animal on his land just for some lunch. A man with that many guns and ways to kill shouldnt be able to make statements like he did at a rally regardless of the 1st amendment. Same goes for the New black panther party.

    April 19, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Flando


      April 19, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • m

      While I might agree with your posting in content, it is absolutely inappropriate to post it on this article. It shows a lack of class and respect for the family.

      April 19, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      Hope that makes you feel better. You could of just wrote it on a piece of paper and flushed it down the toilet, it would make just as much difference..

      April 19, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • mirrorview

      We see why you are banned go away and let this story get the spotlight it deserves

      April 19, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cricket

      You couldn't find a better thread to post this on? Ask yourself WHY you were barred from TPT blog....

      April 19, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • graphicsgirl777

      wow. someone is desperate for attention...

      April 19, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Spencer


      Yeah, well The New Black Panther hasn't killed any white people lately, unlike white supremacists like Ted Nugent who actually follow through.


      Waaaaahhhh, YOURSELF!

      April 19, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Su Lynn

      obviously, you were barred for being unable to stay on topic. Good Job!

      April 19, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • I Remember

      Those of us who knew Etan's family and lived in the neighborhood at the time of his disappearance understand the pain and anguish this caused them. As children we knew not to go with strangers but this totally changed all our young lives in a way I can remember like it was yesturday. I remember the pain and outpouring of grief and support we all felt for Etan and his family. For many of us it was the end of our innocence as we learned just how much evil lies in the heart of the animal that took this child seemingly out from under our noses cause there were about 3 other Bus stops for 2 other schools right before and after his, one of them being mine. So I ask you Thorson to please direct your extremely off topic rantings to a news site that thinks it's appropriate. I understand your need to vent, but you picked a story that is still fresh in the hearts and minds of a lot of us who were touched by Etan despite the fact that it occurred in 1979. So please show some respect and self restraint and control yourself.

      April 19, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marcia Cross

      Why is everyone so afraid of Ted Nugent? Also, it's free speech. He didn't threaten anyone directly. America is filled with a bunch of whiny cowards and one day soon they will feel the brunt of their passiveness. No real men left in this country.

      April 19, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
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