Here in New York City, the FBI is looking for Etan Patz, a six-year-old boy who vanished off the streets of Soho on his way to school. They are digging into a basement, and carrying it away, piece by piece, looking for Etan.
Etan disappeared in 1979. I bet some of the agents looking for Etan weren't even born then.
If you were in New York at that time, you saw pictures of Etan. He was a beautiful kid, and his father, Stanley, took a remarkable picture of him that was posted all over New York. But Etan never came back. There is a man in jail, convicted child molester Jose Ramos, with strong ties to Etan's disappearance, but no physical evidence, which led to the Patzes winning a symbolic civil suit against him. And life has gone on and it hasn't. The Patzes have remained in the loft where they were raising Etan--and where they raised Etan's brother and sister. And they have never changed their phone number. Just in case. More about the aftermath of Etan's disappearance.
Now, the search for Etan has resumed, in the basement of a building near his home. The high-tech tool that led to this?
Cadaver dogs: canines trained to smell for, and locate, human remains, decades after a person's death. A dog sent to a basement near the Patz's home signaled that he found human remains.
On one of the news shows I listen to, an official said that when Etan disappeared, there were just bloodhounds. We didn't have cadaver dogs, dogs who have been trained to smell, and find, the dead.
Sadly, and happily, now we do.