[Updated at 7:19 p.m. ET] Pedro Hernandez, a former Manhattan stock clerk who once lived in the same neighborhood as Etan Patz, was arrested Thursday in the boy's death, more than three decades after the 6-year-old went missing, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters.
Kelly told reporters that Hernandez claims he lured Patz from a bus stop to the store where Hernandez worked with the promise of a soft drink, and then led the boy to the store's basement and choked him. Hernandez told investigators that he then put the body in a plastic bag and put it with trash, Kelly said.
Authorities were tipped off to Hernandez by someone who knew him, and whom Hernandez had confided in, a law enforcement source said.
In her book detailing the investigation, author Lisa Cohen describes the plan Etan had the day he went missing. Just prior to his disappearance, according to the book, Patz told his parents that he planned to stop at a store to buy a soda with a dollar that he'd earned by helping a neighborhood carpenter. It's not clear which store he meant.
Patz's disappearance helped spawn a national movement to raise awareness of missing children, which involved a then-novel approach of splashing an image of the child's face across thousands of milk cartons.
[Updated at 6:41 p.m. ET] New York's police commissioner is scheduled to address reporters at 7 p.m. ET about the case of Etan Patz, whose 1979 disappearance raised national awareness of missing children, according to a police statement.
Pedro Hernandez, a former Manhattan store owner, is expected to be the focus of the news conference after he claimed he strangled Patz, who was 6 when he disappeared.
[Updated at 1:26 p.m. ET] A former Manhattan bodega owner named Pedro Hernandez claims he strangled 6-year-old Etan Patz, whose 1979 disappearance raised national awareness of missing children, according to a law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation.
Police were tipped off to Hernandez by someone who knew him, and whom Hernandez had confided in, the source said.
Earlier Thursday, police in New York said they had a man in custody who implicated himself in Patz's disappearance. A law enforcement source said that the man's claims were being treated with "a healthy dose of skepticism."
[Initial post] Investigators in New York have a man in custody who has implicated himself in the 1979 disappearance of 6-year-old Etan Patz, Commissioner Ray Kelly of the New York Police Department said Thursday.
Authorities plan to divulge more details Thursday, Kelly said in a statement.
Patz's disappearance received national attention and, along with other high-profile cases, helped trigger a national movement that focuses on missing children.
Etan went missing on May 25, 1979, a block from his home in the New York neighborhood of SoHo. It was the first time he had walked to his school bus stop by himself.FULL STORY