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How the Etan Patz Case Was Relaunched

New agent sought 'peace' for missing child's family
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2012 8:25 AM CDT
How the Etan Patz Case Was Relaunched
Investigators work the crime scene in connection to the 1979 disappearance of 6-year-old boy Etan Patz in New York, Sunday, April 22, 2012.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

(Newser) – The case of Etan Patz was opened in 1979 and almost closed five years ago, but a fairly low-ranking FBI agent brought it back into the limelight—culminating in the recent search of a New York City basement, reveals the New York Times. Agent Thomas McDonald took on the hopeless-looking case following another agent's promotion; seeking "some measure of peace" for Patz's family, McDonald contacted old witnesses and developed a 50-page "Patzifesto" containing his findings.

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In the course of McDonald's work, doubts were raised about the previous top suspect, Jose Ramos, who tended to develop close relationships with the children he abused; no such link between Ramos and Patz was uncovered. New suspect Othniel Miller's name popped up as part of McDonald's search. When asked about a basement burial in one interview, he asked agents, "What if the body was moved?" Meanwhile, the basement search is due to resume today, following a sudden halt yesterday, amid rain. At that point, reporters spotted something being loaded into a van, CNN notes. Yesterday, investigators reportedly found what may be a blood stain on a cinder block. (Read more Etan Patz stories.)

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