Six-year-old Etan Patz disappeared while walking to his New York City bus stop on May 25, 1979. In 2001 Etan was declared dead, and in 2010 his case was reopened. After 33 years, police may have found a new lead in the child's mysterious disappearance.
Yesterday investigators began searching an unoccupied basement at 127B Prince Street after FBI cadaver dogs indicated that a body may be buried underneath the concrete floor, reported the Wall Street Journal. In 1979 the basement was being used by handyman Othniel Miller.
According to officials, an investigation is being conducted based on the theory that Miller killed Etan and buried him in the basement.
Police are currently breaking apart a 13 x 62 foot space to reveal a brick wall that was present at the time of Etan's disappearance, reported the New York Times. Investigators are also going to break the concrete floor to search for remains.
CBS talked to Othniel's daughter, Stephanie Miller, who said that while her father is cooperating with the F.B.I., he doesn't have anything to do with it.
Who is Othniel Miller?
- Othniel Miller, now 75, was 42-years-old when Etan, a first-grader, went missing.
- Miller reportedly saw Etan the day before he disappeared. The handyman had given Etan a dollar for some chores, author Lisa R. Cohen revealed in After Etan: The Missing Child Case That Held America Captive.
- When Etan first went missing Miller had welcomed police into the basement to examine it. The basement floor had been freshly poured, but Miller invited them to tear it up if they agreed to pay to replace it. Miller was not a suspect at the time and police did not follow through on Miller's offer, deciding it was too costly.
- In recent days Miller was being interviewed by the F.B.I. An F.B.I. official revealed that when they told Miller of the cadaver dog's discover, Miller blurted out, What if the body was moved?
- Miller's former basement workspace was less than a block from Etan's home.
- Othniel Miller was married but divorced in 1986. At the time of Etan's disappearance he had a nine-year-old daughter and a 16-year-old son.
- Miller currently lives with his daughter. A neighbor described him as a good and quiet man.