Murder of Etan Patz: The missing child case that confounded the NYPD and FBI

The murder of Etan Patz features in a new episode of 48 Hours on CBS tonight — which looks in detail at the case which confounded detectives for decades.

Etan went missing at the age of six on May 25, 1979, and has never been seen since. It took 29 years for him to be declared legally dead.

His case was one of the most high-profile missing child’s cases in history, and prompted everything from new legislation to National Missing Children’s Day, which is held on the date of his disappearance.

Etan vanished while traveling to get his school bus in SoHo, Manhattan but it took the NYPD and FBI decades to find out he had been abducted and murdered.

With hundreds of false leads, the case looked like it would never be solved. But in May 2012 police got a call from a tipster who told them their brother-in-law Pedro Hernandez may have been to blame.

Hernandez later confessed, telling detectives he had choked Etan then dumped his body in a box among some nearby trash.

His first trial ended in a mistrial after one of the jurors failed to agree with the others. However, he was found guilty at the end of a second trial in February 2017 of murder and kidnapping, and sentenced to life in prison that May.

Watch the Latest on our YouTube Channel

The 48 Hours episode on CBS looking at the case is called The Lost Boy, and includes interviews with many of those closest to the case.

Watch a sneak peek from the episode below:

48 Hours airs Saturdays at 10pm ET/PT on CBS.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x