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    Etan Kalil Patz (6) - New York NY, 1979

    Missing Since: May 25, 1979 from New York City, New York
    Classification: Non-Family Abduction
    Date Of Birth: October 9, 1972
    Age: 6 years old
    Height and Weight: 3'4, 50 pounds
    Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian male. Light brown to blond hair, blue eyes. Patz's name is pronounced "Ay-tahn." He may use the alias Etan Ben Haim.
    Clothing/Jewelry Description: A black "Future Flight Captain" pilot cap pulled low over his eyes, a blue corduroy jacket, blue pants and blue sneakers with fluorescent stripes.

    Details of Disappearance

    Patz was last seen walking to his school bus stop in New York City, New York on May 25, 1979 at approximately 8:00 a.m.. His family resided in an apartment on Prince Street near West Broadway. The stop was on Prince Street and Wooster Streets. This was the first time Patz's parents allowed him to walk to the bus stop alone. He has never been heard again. Patz was carrying a dollar for a soft drink, and a blue cloth bag imprinted with elephants at the time of his disappearance. His mother watched him out the window until he crossed Wooster Street, 150 yards from the bus stop. He has never been heard from again.

    Patz's bus arrived at the stop at 8:10 a.m. as usual and picked up a number of children, but Patz was not among the group. Patz's first-grade teacher at Independence Plaza School realized he was absent but did not report it to the principal, so Patz's parents did not realize he was missing until he failed to come home at 3:15 p.m. that day. They immediately notified the authorities.

    On May 27, two days after Patz's disappearance, a witness told police that she had seen a boy matching Patz's description talking to a suspicious-looking man on the corner of Prince and Wooster streets. Under hypnosis, the witness described the man as about 40 years old, skinny, freckled, and with dyed blond hair. She was uncertain, however, whether the boy she saw was actually Patz.

    A known pedophile named Jose Antonio Ramos has been the prime suspect in Patz's disappearance for many years. A photograph of him is shown below this case summary. Ramos was a drifter with mental problems who was known for assaulting young boys as he crossed the United States in the 1970's. He tended to prefer boys with light hair, like Patz. Ramos was in New York City at the time of Patz's 1979 disappearance. He also dated a former babysitter employed by the Patz family; he was suspected of stalking the woman before Patz vanished. Police believe Ramos may have seen Patz accompanied by the woman, therein inadvertently leading Ramos to the child.

    Ramos claimed he was with a boy matching Patz's description the day the boy disappeared. He described Patz's sneakers with their distinctive fluorescent stripes. Ramos went on to state that he introduced himself to the child by telling him he was a "friend" of the former employee, then took the boy back to his apartment and sexually assaulted him. Then, he told police, he put the boy on a subway bound for Washington Heights so the child could visit his aunt there. Patz has no relatives living in Washington Heights.

    In 1983, Ramos moved to Watersmeet, Michigan with an unidentified light-haired boy, aged about thirteen or fourteen. Patz would have been about that age in 1983. Ramos left the area after he came under suspicion for molesting several boys. Police photographed him and the boy while they were in Michigan. Later, when they examined the photographs, they noted the boy's resemblance to an age-progression of Patz and decided to track the boy down. Ramos had told people in Watersmeet that the boy's parents ran an orphanage in Columbus, Ohio. The boy had been arrested there so his fingerprints were on file. Police compared the prints with Patz's. They didn't match. To make sure, authorities approached the teenager and obtained a DNA sample, which conclusively ruled out the possibility that Patz and the boy were the same person.

    In 1985 the focus of the investigation briefly shifted to Israel, where a magazine there ran a photograph of Patz that had been taken by his father. The photo was not among those that had been handed out to the press, so police were suspicious as to its origin. However, attempts to locate the source of the photograph were in vain and the investigation centered back on Ramos.

    Ramos's former cellmate told authorities that Ramos confessed to murdering Patz and claimed that the boy's body would never be located. Ramos is currently serving a ten to twenty year sentence in Pennsylvania for molesting boys, who, like Patz, were blond. New York investigators elected not to file charges against Ramos in Patz's case in February 2002, citing a lack of evidence.

    Patz was declared legally dead by a New York judge in 2001. The action allowed Patz's family to file a civil wrongful death lawsuit against Ramos, although he has never been charged in connection Patz's case. They did file suit, and Ramos initially refused to give a deposition on the matter. In March 2003, a Manhattan Supreme Court judge ordered Ramos to answer questions under oath about what happened to Patz. Ramos gave a statement in October 2003, claiming he was in a park with a ten-year-old boy named Jimmy whom he'd met that morning in Washington Square Park, when two police officers approached him with a picture of Patz around 11:15 to 11:30 a.m. on the day of the Patz's disappearance, and asked if he had seen the child. Ramos claimed that after the police left him, he took Jimmy to an apartment. He invoked his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination when asked whether he sexually assaulted the child.

    Authorities give little credence to Ramos's story. Patz was not reported missing until 2:00 p.m. that day, and investigators would not have circulated his picture for some hours afterward. Ramos's story about his whereabouts at the time Patz vanished has changed several times.

    Ramos refused to answer many of the questions in the deposition, so the judge presiding over the lawsuit found him liable for the child's wrongful death in May 2004. The judge ordered Ramos to pay $2,000,000 to Patz's parents, but as Ramos is destitute it is unlikely that any money will be collected. He is scheduled to be released from prison in 2014.

    Patz's whereabouts remain unknown and his case is still open. Foul play is suspected in his case due to the circumstances involved.

    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    New York City Police Department

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