The man long suspected in the 1979 disappearance of 6-year-old Etan Patz was ordered to stand trial Thursday for allegedly providing authorities with a bogus address required under Pennsylvania law.
Jose Ramos said nothing as he was led into a district judge's office a day after another man was charged in the kidnapping and killing of Patz, crimes Ramos had long been suspected of committing.
Ramos was the prime suspect in Patz's disappearance until earlier this year, when a New Jersey man told police he'd choked the boy to death in the basement below a convenience store near the boy's home in SoHo. Ramos was even declared legally responsible for Etan's death by a civil court in 2004.
Ramos completed a 27-year sentence for child molestation last week but was immediately arrested upon his release from prison because authorities said he had given them a fake address for where he'd be living.
A few weeks before his release from the State Correctional Institution at Dallas, Ramos' counselor and a prison records specialist had him fill out the required Megan's Law registration form, according to court documents.
But when New York City police checked out the address he provided, they found no one living there who knew Ramos. And when police tracked down the cousin whose name Ramos had listed, she told them she hadn't had any contact with him in 35 years and did not plan to allow him to live with her.
Ramos actually was making other arrangements, police said.
State police Trooper Martin Connors testified Thursday that letters intercepted by prison officials indicate that Ramos was planning to stay in a New York City hotel with a woman and her grandson, then head to Florida or Brazil.
"He had no intention whatsoever of even going to that building," Connors said.
Ramos' public defender, Jonathan Blum, argued that Ramos could have headed to the address he gave police, found out he wasn't permitted to live there, then given police another address and still be in compliance with Megan's Law.
Around the time of Ramos' hearing, the man now charged in Patz's death appeared in a New York City courtroom. Pedro Hernandez's attorney said his client is mentally ill and made a false confession.