By: David Ben Hooren
Forty years after their 6-year-old son Etan Patz disappeared on a Soho street and made headlines and changed forever the way missing children’s cases are handled by officials, Julie and Stan Patz have moved out of NYC, the NY Post reported.
Etan was six years old on May 25, 1979, when he disappeared on his way to his school bus stop in the SoHo neighborhood of Lower Manhattan. His disappearance helped launch the missing children movement, which included new legislation and new methods for tracking down missing children. Several years after he disappeared, Patz was one of the first children to be profiled on the “photo on a milk carton” campaigns of the early 1980s.
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan designated May 25—the anniversary of Etan’s disappearance—as National Missing Children’s Day in the United States.
The couple quietly sold their Prince Street loft this summer and relocated to Hawaii in recent weeks, The Post reported.
“They are moving on to a beautiful place to share whatever time they have left with their child and their grandchildren,” longtime neighbor Susan Meisel told The Post.
On the morning of May 25, 1979, Etan left his SoHo apartment at 113 Prince Street by himself for the first time, planning to walk two blocks to board a school bus at West Broadway and Prince Street. He was wearing a black “Future Flight Captain” pilot cap, a blue corduroy jacket, blue jeans and blue sneakers with fluorescent stripes. He never got on the bus, archieved articles from the NY Times reported initially in 1979.
On May 24, 2012, New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly announced that a man was in custody who had implicated himself in Etan’s disappearance. According to The New York Times, a law enforcement official identified the man as 51-year-old Pedro Hernandez of Maple Shade, New Jersey, and said that he had confessed to strangling the child. He stated in his written confession to police, “I’m sorry, I shoke [sic] him.” According to a 2009 book about the case, After Etan, Etan had a dollar and had told his parents he planned to buy a soda to drink with his lunch.
At the time of Etan’s disappearance, Hernandez was an 18-year-old convenience store worker in a neighborhood bodega. Hernandez said that he later threw Etan’s remains into the garbage. Hernandez was charged with second-degree murder. According to a New York Times report from May 25, 2012, the police at that time had no physical evidence to corroborate his confession. In April 18, 2017, Hernandez was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years.
According to Hernandez’s sister, it was an “open family secret that he had confessed in the church”. Her testimony and Jose Lopez ( Hernandez’s brother in law) were a major part of the case which went on for almost 2 years after initial hearings and investigations which began in 2012.
The Etan Patz story gripped the nation and forever changed the way missing children are handled. The parents can now begin a new chapter of their lives and leave the ghosts of late 70’s New York behind them