I’m currently 50, and the child’s disappearance has never been solved yet.
The little boy was abducted the very first time he walked to the school bus by himself. All that is known is that he never made it to the bus. He left his apartment on Prince Street in New York City and was never seen again.
I never thought back in 1979 that we were leaving in an “age of cultural innocence,” but we were, at least in terms of our knowledge of pedophiles, how they operate, and how prevalent they happen to be. At the time, I remember a lot of people were confused as to why such a young child would be abducted and never heard from again. It wasn’t well known that pedophiles consider children to be their “preference,” that they are almost ingenious in their ability to befriend kids and gain their parents’ unwitting trust, or that they each abuse, on average, a whopping 300 children.
Keep in mind that that figure, 300, is just the average number they abuse, the median, if you want to feel sick. The actual number can be less – or a whole lot more.
One of the suspects in this case was the superintendent of the building shown in the photo above. He had befriended the child the night before and given him a dollar. It may have been a totally innocent move on behalf of a man towards the child of a neighbor – or not. It may have been a totally deliberate and calculated move made by a pedophile to build up the boy’s trust. That is, we know now, how pedophiles operate.
Whatever may or may not have transpired between the superintendent of the building and the boy, recently cadaver dogs have indicated that there is a body in the basement of this building. The cement floor was poured not long after the child disappeared. The NYPD and the FBI are currently digging up the basement to see what they can find. The scene on the street yesterday, on an incongruously sunny afternoon, was like something straight out of “Criminal Minds,” with the NYPD, police guards, FBI agents, and the FBI Evidence Recovery Team in position and press, onlookers and television satellite trucks all over the street. Thank God they’re moving on this, was my main thought. Thank God the family might get some closure, though it would be the worst possible kind.
I have always hoped that Etan Patz would turn out to be alive somewhere, just like Jaycee Lee Dugard did – after being held captive for 19 years. It happens. There are miracles, every now and then. In an instance like this, even after seeing, first hand, all of the forensic activity taking place on the street where little Etan once played, I still pray that the body in that basement won’t belong to him. Etan Patz is, again and as always, the little boy that everyone in the Tri-State Area has wholeheartedly hoped, since 1979, would one day be returned to us. We all want to see Etan come back – alive.