(NEW YORK) — New York City police have a man in custody for the disappearance of 6-year-old Etan Patz, who went missing 33 years ago this week, and have “cautious optimism” that they may finally have a significant break in the case.
Authorities said that it is possible that Pedro Hernandez, 51, could be charged as early as Thursday with the kidnapping and murder of Patz, who disappeared while walking to the school bus stop alone for the first time near his parents’ Manhattan apartment in 1979.
NYPD Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Thursday morning that Hernandez “has made statements to N.Y.P.D. detectives implicating himself in the disappearance and death of Etan Patz 33 years ago.”
Hernandez, who was taken into custody at his residence in Maple Shade, N.J. Wednesday morning, had never previously been named as a prime suspect.
Though police have named other suspects in the past, none have ever been arrested or charged.
Thursday morning, NYPD Chief of Detectives Phil Pulaski walked along Prince Street, where Patz vanished on the morning of May 25, 1979. Pulaski and his team were reexamining the crime scene in light of new information they have obtained from questioning Hernandez.
Both Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg are expected to provide further details later Thursday. Neither Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, nor the FBI would comment on the investigation.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire
Ray Sanchez, CNN Newswire