New York City police are investigating whether they finally have someone in custody whom they can charge with murder in connection to the disappearance 33 years ago of 6-year-old Etan Patz.
Officials say that the suspect in their custody, Pedro Hernandez, has implicated himself in the death of the little boy who disappeared on his first day heading to the school bus stop alone, the police commissioner said this morning.
"An individual now in custody has made statements to N.Y.P.D. detectives implicating himself in the disappearance and death of Etan Patz 33 years ago," Commissioner Raymond Kelly said in a statement.
Etan disappeared on the morning of May 25, 1979, soon after leaving his parents' apartment in New York's SoHo neighborhood, the first time he was to walk to the school bus stop by himself.
The search for Etan has been one of the largest, longest lasting and most heart wrenching hunts for a missing child in the country's recent history. His photo was among the first of a missing child to appear on a milk carton.
Kelly said in the statement that further details would be released later today.
The April excavation of a Manhattan basement yielded no obvious human remains and little forensic evidence that would help solve the decades-long mystery of what happened to the boy.
His parents, Stan and Julie Patz, were reluctant to move or even change their phone number in case their son tried to reach out. They still live in the same apartment, down the street from the building that was examined in April.
The family did not immediately return a message requesting comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.