Rest in peace, Etan Patz.
It appears the 1979 disappearance of the 6-year-old Soho boy is going to remain unsolved. New York City police say there was no evidence of a body in the basement they dug up this week. Perhaps, miraculously, they will find some minor bits of hair, or another clue.
Failing that, they have turned a legendary New York tragedy into something akin to the North Korean missile launch. Embarrassing for the cops, but much, much worse for the other people involved against their will. The boy's parents had to live through another round of media-mad but apparently fruitless searches.
I've been a reporter all my adult life, and I'm generally the last one to complain about police spreading tips. But this seemed outrageous. In a week's worth of news stories and tabloid headlines, Miller was hung out to dry. For a 32-year-old murder. About which, it appeared, there was no new evidence.
Maybe something will turn up, but as things stand now, law enforcement is looking a lot worse than Othniel Miller. You never want to fault the cops or the FBI for sticking with a case, no matter how cold. But if you pick up a new suspect 30 years after the fact, and then leak enough information to convict him in the court of public opinion, you had better have something to back up your case.