Etan Patz Case: NYPD, FBI Searching Basement Of Soho Building For Body Of Boy Who Disappeared In 1979

The NYPD and FBI might have a lead in the case of the first missing child to appear on a milk carton — 33 years later.

Officials are searching the basement of a SoHo building in NYC for the remains of Etan Patz, who went missing in New York in 1979 on his way to the school bus stop.

FBI spokesman Tim Flannley told 1010 WINS, “The FBI and the NYPD are looking for evidence in the Etan Patz investigation. It’s one of many leads that we’re pursuing. It is a joint matter between the FBI and NYPD and no conclusions should be made about specifically why we’re here or what we’re looking for.”

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne described the search to reporters. “We’ve been taking down some dry wall to examine the original wall, there’s been some dry wall put up since that time,” he said. “And we’ll be excavating a portion of the basement itself, breaking up the concrete that covers the floor, digging up the dirt underneath that, looking for those human remains, personal effects or clothing.”

Two years ago, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance reopened the case–one of the most high-profile missing children cases in New York City history–for undisclosed reasons.

Patz was the first child whose picture was put on the side of a milk carton. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan declared May 25 National Missing Children’s Day, the day Patz disappeared.

The boy was legally declared dead in 2001.

Jose Ramos, who had connections to Patz’s former babysitter, has long been considered the prime suspect in the case.

Ramos is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence in Pennsylvania for child molestation.

Police and FBI are searching the basement of a building on Prince Street between Wooster and West Broadway.