Crime and Courts

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

Cops Back in SoHo on Etan Patz Case

Sources said detectives were digging through a void in the basement of the building

Police were back Wednesday in the SoHo basement where Etan Patz was allegedly killed in 1979.

Sources said detectives were digging through a void in the basement of the building, which was formerly a bodega employing Pedro Hernandez, who has confessed to killing Patz.

Items including hair, fiber and a book were removed, a source said, and will be analyzed by a police lab.

Several cops came out of the basement covered with dust. Crime scene detectives removed six large brown paper bags and placed them in a van.

Hernandez was arrested in May after he allegedly told police he killed Patz 33 years ago in the basement of the bodega, where he worked as a stock clerk.  He had also made claims to members of his New Jersey church group back in the 1980s that he once had harmed a child in New York City. 

So far, police have not found any physical evidence to substantiate those claims.  Police investigative efforts have included a search of Hernandez's Maple Shade home.  

According to the New York Post and DNAinfo, sources say that Hernandez's former wife said he kept a photo of Patz for many years.

On Wednesday, officers behind barricades were going to and from the basement of the building, at West Broadway and Prince Street. Emergency Service Trucks and Crime Scene Units were at the site.

Etan Patz vanished in SoHo in 1979 as he walked to the corner to catch his bus to school. 

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