(NEW YORK) — Federal investigators and New York City police are preparing on Thursday to dig beneath the streets near a Manhattan apartment building where 6-year-old Etan Patz disappeared 33 years ago.
The search for Patz has been one of the largest, longest lasting and most heart wrenching hunts for a missing child in the country’s recent history.
Investigators are also reexamining the decades old assumption that Patz was abducted by convicted pedophile Jose Ramos. Ramos, now in prison for an unrelated case, was never charged with Patz’s abduction.
The dig underway on Thursday is related to another person, a carpenter who had befriended the boy. The carpenter’s name had surfaced in earlier investigations, but he had never been targeted as a suspect.
The carpenter’s shop was at or near the location of Thursday’s search.
Patz vanished on May 25, 1979 in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan while walking alone to a school bus stop.
He became the first missing child whose face appeared on the side of a milk carton.
The case had been dormant until Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. reopened the case in 2010.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire
Ray Sanchez, CNN Newswire