Crime and Courts

Chief investigative reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.

PHOTOS: Etan Patz Investigation

Etan Patz, 6, disappeared on his way to school from his SoHo home on May 25, 1979. The case captured the attention of New York City and the nation, and he was never found. The FBI and NYPD began digging in a SoHo basement on April 19, believing they had new information about where his remains might be found. On May 24, 2012, police arrested Pedro Hernandez, then 51, who confessed to luring Patz into the basement of a nearby bodega, strangling him and disposing his body in the trash.

29 photos
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AP/Stanley K. Patz
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AP
A house, left, at 116 E. Linwood Ave., is seen in Maple Shade, N.J., Thursday, May 24, 2012. A woman who would not identify herself, answered the door at Apt. B, door left, back of house, and said that it is the home of Pedro Hernandez, who was taken into custody in the disappearance of Etan Patz in 1979.
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Pedro Hernandez was arrested in connection with the 1979 murder of Etan Patz after he allegedly confessed to a relative, who called police with a tip after the recent digging up of a SoHo basement used as a handyman's shop. Hernandez was a stock clerk at a former bodega near where Patz disappeared.
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ASSOCIATED PRESS
A woman speaks to a reporter through a door at 116 E. Linwood Ave., Apt. B, in Maple Shade, New Jersey, in 2012.
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ASSOCIATED PRESS
Maryanne Hammel, second left, and husband Richard Hammel, right back, answers questions about their neighbor, Pedro Hernandez.
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Getty Images
A missing child flyer distributed after the disappearance of Etan Patz in 1979.
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AP
This undated image provided Friday, May 28, 2010 by Stanley K. Patz shows Patz's son Etan who vanished in New York on May 25, 1979. One of the most extensive missing-child searches was mounted to find him, but two decades later, the boy was officially declared dead.
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AP
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AP
FBI and NYPD law enforcement officials search a SoHo basement at the corner of Wooster and Prince streets in April 2012 for the possible remains of Etan Patz, a boy missing since 1979.
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AP
FBI and NYPD law enforcement officials outside the building where the search resumed in April 2012.
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AP
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AP
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Google Earth/NBC New York
This map shows where Etan Patz's home is located in relation to where FBI and NYPD officers searched for his remains.
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AP
This undated image shows another flyer distributed by the NYPD.
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AP
Julie Patz, Etan's mother, speaks on NBC's "Today" show in 1981.
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AP
Etan Patz's father and brother pose with a photo of the missing boy.
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ASSOCIATED PRESS
In this May 28, 2010 photo provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, inmate Jose A. Ramos is shown. Ramos was investigated for the 1979 disappearance of 6 year old Etan Patz, when the admitted child molester was dating Etan's babysitter. Ramos denied killing the child, but in 2004 a Manhattan civil judge ruled him to be responsible for the death in 2004, largely due to his refusal to contest the case.
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Etan Patz's home
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AP
An overhead view of the search.
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AP
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AP
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Investigators on Day 2 of the search for Etan Patz's remains.
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A Dumpster was brought in Friday as investigators prepared to break up the concrete floor in the basement being searched.
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ASSOCIATED PRESS
Investigators remove debris from the basement of the SoHo building
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ASSOCIATED PRESS
Members of the FBI and NYPD carry pieces of concrete out of a basement of the building
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ASSOCIATED PRESS
Julie Patz, mother of Etan Patz, looks out the window of her loft Friday
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ASSOCIATED PRESS
An Emergency Service Unit officer carries a chains saw into the basement
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ASSOCIATED PRESS
Investigators remove debris from the basement.
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AP
New York City police commissioner Raymond Kelly speaks during a news conference Thursday, May 24, 2012. Pedro Hernandez has implicated himself in the death of 6-year-old Etan Patz.
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