Othniel Miller, the handyman who is currently having his former basement workshop dug up by the FBI in connection with the 1979 disappearance of Etan Patz, has a new accusation against him. Miller's ex-wife told police that he is responsible for raping his niece.
The accusations against Miller reportedly occurred a few years after six-year-old Etan Patz vanished while walking to the school bus in New York City. Miller's niece was 10-years-old at the time, and according to his ex-wife, the attack occurred in the child's New Jersey Home.
According to the Daily Mail, the FBI was able to acquire a warrant to dig up the former basement workshop after Miller was accused of raping his niece. Miller, however, was never charged with raping his niece. The handyman's lawyer, Michael Farkas, told the New York Post that he had not heard about Miller's ex-wife's claims.
The building that houses the basement that the FBI is currently digging up was only a few blocks away from Etan's home. Police suspect that Miller killed the child and buried him in the basement. As of yesterday, investigators were breaking down a 13- x 62-foot space to reveal a brick wall that had been present at the time of Etan's disappearance 33-years-ago.
Surprisingly, investigators had visited the building's basement when Etan went missing in 1979. Police had come to examine the basement to find that the floor had been freshly poured. Miller had reportedly invited the investigators to tear up the floor, but only under the condition that they agree to pay to replace the floor when they were done. Police had not followed up on the offer at the time because the handyman was not a suspect, and the damage would have been too costly.
Etan Patz was last seen on the corner of Wooster St. and Price St. on May 25, 1979. The day before he disappeared, Etan had reportedly done some chores for Miller, and he was paid a dollar for his work. On June 6, 1979, emergency units searching for Etan had disbanded, but his case remained open. Jose Antonio Ramos, a pedophile, had been picked up as a suspect, and while he was ruled responsible for Etan's death in 2004, he was never convicted.
Etan Patz' case was reopened in 2010. The FBI have recently interviewed Miller about the case. When told about a cadaver-sniffing dog's discovery of the scent of a body in Miller's old basement workshop, the man reportedly blurted out, What if the body was moved?
Othniel currently lives with his daughter, and his connection to Etan Patz has come as a shock to most that know him. One neighbor described him as a good and quiet man. Miller's daughter Stephanie talked to CBS News, telling them that her father doesn't have anything to do with it.
To see a time line of Etan Patz' disappearance, click here.
Amanda Remling studied journalism at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ.
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