According to NBC, NYP spokesman Paul Browne revealed that investigators discovered a dry wall in the basement that was not there in 1979, and authorities now plan to dig through the basement and its brick walls. Officials told NBC New York that investigators recently went to the District Attorney's office to seek a search warrant for the basement, based on new information they received about the case, which was reopened by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. two years ago. The basement is reportedly connected to a handyman who had some contact with Patz before the boy went missing 33 years ago, and is believed to have been a meeting venue for sexual liaisons.
The nationwide search for Patz is known as one of the longest lasting and puzzling investigations for a missing child. Patz was one of the first missing children to be featured on the back of a milk carton. He was declared dead in 2001, although authorities never found his remains. For decades, the prime suspect was Jose Ramos, a convicted pedophile, whose former girlfriend had been employed by the Patz's. Ramos was never charged for the crime because of insufficient evidence, and is currently in jail for molesting an 8-year old boy in an unrelated case.
The handyman's name has not yet been revealed.The man's name reportedly has resurfaced in earlier investigations but he was never seriously considered as a suspect. Officials have yet to reveal more details about the man.
Just because we're looking in a basement people shouldn't expect us to come out with remains, a law enforcement official told the New York Times. Officials have also declined to specify details about what kinds of remains they are searching for, and what information led them to the site. NBC reports that authorities from the city medical examiner's office have been at the scene to determine whether the findings are human remains.