Nearly 33 years after the disappearance of Etan Patz, a 6-year-old Manhattan boy who went missing in 1979, police announced the arrest of a suspect in Etan's murder.

Commissioner Ray Kelly announced that police arrested Pedro Hernandez, 51, Wednesday evening in Camden, New Jersey.

The New York Post reports that Hernandez is currently on suicide watch at Bellevue Hospital because he went off his meds and talked about killing himself. Hernandez was expected in court Friday to hear charges, most likely for second-degree murder, but instead will be arraigned from his bed at Bellevue.

Hernandez confessed to luring the boy into his nearby bodega where he worked, suffocating him in the basement, wrapping up his body and throwing it away in a pile of trash. He reportedly told family members in 1981 that he had “done a bad thing and killed a child in New York.” The body was never recovered.

After 33 years of false leads, there is a healthy dose of skepticism surrounding the newest break in the case. An official told The New York Times that while Kelly was confident this was the guy, others are less quick to make that assessment:

“If this was a baseball game, we would be in the first inning,” the official, who would not be identified, said. “He is lucid, he’s persuasive. But there is not a lot of corroborating information.”

Without any human remains or physical evidence, investigators will have to rely on witness accounts to finally close this infamous case.

Another question is why Hernandez was never questioned in the first place. Others who worked in his bodega were, but police never thought to ask the then 19-year-old his account of what might have happened. Commissioner Kelly said he couldn't speak to why Hernandez was never approached.

When officials finally knocked on Hernandez' door Wednesday, Kelly said the encounter wasn't violent. "He was remorseful," Kelly said, "and I think the detectives thought that it was a feeling of relief on his part." After hours of interrogation, Hernandez signed a confession detailing his crimes.

It was when a family member of Hernandez's heard last month that officials were digging up a basement in Soho looking for Patz's body, that they contacted police.

Hernandez also has cancer, and another source says that in the light of his disease he decided to come forward.

From the Associated Press:

Since the early 1980s, the investigation has ebbed and flowed. It included a trip to Israel after reported sightings there of the boy, and in the past decade focused on Jose Ramos, a convicted child molester now in prison in Pennsylvania, who had been dating Etan's baby sitter. In 2000, authorities dug up Ramos' former basement in lower Manhattan, but nothing turned up.

6-year-old Etan Patz went missing in SoHo in May of 1979. He was famously the first missing child to appear on the side of a milk carton, but was never found, and in 2001 he was officially declared dead. Last April, investigators got a tip to search the basement of a store in SoHo for his remains, but after days of excavating they didn't find any human remains.

The site of the former bodega at 448 West Broadway where Hernandez allegedly killed Etan:
etan patz murder

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  • JEREMIAH GEORGE HUGER Case Type: Non Family Abduction DOB: Dec 10, 1980 Sex: Male Missing Date: Jun 25, 1985 Race: Black Age Now: 31 Height: 3'6" (107 cm) Missing City: BRONX Weight: 45 lbs (20 kg) Missing State : NY Hair Color: Brown Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Brown Case Number: NCMC601769 Circumstances: Jeremiah's photo is shown age-progressed to 29 years. He was playing in his yard with other children when an unknown black male called to the child and then grabbed him. Jeremiah has a 1 1/2" scar on his left forearm. He was last seen wearing a light blue shirt, dark blue shorts, and white sneakers.

  • JEREMIAH GEORGE HUGER, Age Progression

  • KIRK QUINTONS Case Type: Non Family Abduction DOB: Oct 23, 1971 Sex: Male Missing Date: Sep 18, 1983 Race: Black Age Now: 40 Height: 4'9" (145 cm) Missing City: NEW YORK Weight: 70 lbs (32 kg) Missing State : NY Hair Color: Black Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Brown Case Number: NCMC601872 Circumstances: Kirk's photo is shown age-progressed to 32 years. He was last seen going to the store.

  • KIRK QUINTONS, Age Progression

  • AUDREY LYN NERENBERG Case Type: Missing DOB: Sep 24, 1958 Sex: Female Missing Date: Jul 15, 1977 Race: White Age Now: 53 Height: 5'4" (163 cm) Missing City: BROOKLYN Weight: 115 lbs (52 kg) Missing State : NY Hair Color: Lt. Brown Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Brown Case Number: NCMA603933 Circumstances: Audrey's photo is shown age-progressed to 45 years. She was last seen at her residence on July 15, 1977. She has freckles on her face, shoulders, and hands. She also has a small gap between her top front teeth. Audrey may be in need of medical assistance.

  • AUDREY LYN NERENBERG, Age Progression

  • EQUILLA LYNN HODRICK Age Progression Case Type: Non Family Abduction DOB: Aug 19, 1976 Sex: Female Missing Date: Aug 12, 1985 Race: Black Age Now: 35 Height: 4'11" (150 cm) Missing City: BRONX Weight: 80 lbs (36 kg) Missing State : NY Hair Color: Brown Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Hazel Case Number: NCMC601724 Circumstances: Equilla's photo is shown age-progressed to 33 years. She was last seen running after an ice cream truck near her home on Briggs Road. She has a gap between her top front teeth, wears glasses, has pierced ears and a scar near her right eye.

  • EQUILLA LYNN HODRICK Age Progression

  • VALARIE LORRAINE CUCCIA Case Type: Missing DOB: Oct 16, 1953 Sex: Female Missing Date: May 7, 1974 Race: White Age Now: 58 Height: 5'6" (168 cm) Missing City: NEW YORK Weight: 120 lbs (54 kg) Missing State : NY Hair Color: Black Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Brown Case Number: NCMA1175398 Circumstances: Valarie was last seen on May 7, 1974. She was last seen wearing a plaid coat with a fur collar, a striped polo shirt, camel pants, and black boots with studs on the side. Valarie has a scar on her left calf.

  • HOLLY ANN HUGHES Case Type: Non Family Abduction DOB: Jan 23, 1974 Sex: Female Missing Date: Jul 15, 1981 Race: White Age Now: 38 Height: 4'0" (122 cm) Missing City: STATEN ISLAND Weight: 50 lbs (23 kg) Missing State : NY Hair Color: Brown Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Blue Case Number: NCMC601770 Circumstances: Holly's photo is shown age-progressed to 35 years. She was last seen at Richmond Terrace and Park Avenue in Staten Island, New York, wearing blue shorts, a beige bathing suit, and brown shoes.

  • HOLLY ANN HUGHES, Age Progression

  • CESILIA PENA Case Type: Non Family Abduction DOB: Sep 4, 1962 Sex: Female Missing Date: Oct 6, 1976 Race: Hispanic Age Now: 49 Height: 4'9" (145 cm) Missing City: NEW YORK Weight: 111 lbs (50 kg) Missing State : NY Hair Color: Black Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Brown Case Number: NCMC601859 Circumstances: Cesilia's photo is shown age-progressed to 48 years. She was last seen riding the subway on her way home from school. She was wearing a parochial school uniform, a light gray jacket, a gray plain skirt, and a white blouse. She has a scar on her left forearm.

  • CESILIA PENA Age Progression

  • TIAHEASE JACKSON Case Type: Non Family Abduction DOB: Oct 5, 1972 Sex: Female Missing Date: Aug 14, 1983 Race: Black Age Now: 39 Height: 4'8" (142 cm) Missing City: STATEN ISLAND Weight: 90 lbs (41 kg) Missing State : NY Hair Color: Black Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Black Case Number: NCMC701777 Circumstances: Tiahease's photo is shown age-progressed to 38 years. She was last seen at a supermarket in Staten Island, New York. She is a diabetic, has a kidney disorder (Bright's disease) and high blood pressure.

  • TIAHEASE JACKSON Age Progression

  • MARLENE SANTANA Case Type: Non Family Abduction DOB: Oct 18, 1985 Sex: Female Missing Date: Oct 21, 1985 Race: Hispanic Age Now: 26 Height: 1'8" (51 cm) Missing City: NEW YORK Weight: 7 lbs (3 kg) Missing State : NY Hair Color: Brown Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Brown Case Number: NCMC601889 Circumstances: Marlene was three days old when she was taken at gunpoint by a female suspect who her mother met at Brookdale Hospital. The image on the right is a composite sketch of the female suspect as she appeared at the time of the abduction. The image on the left is an artist's rendering of what Marlene may have looked like at 2 years of age. The photo in the center is a composite image of what Marlene may look like at 25 years of age.

  • MARLENE SANTANA, Age Progression .

  • ANDRE TERRENCE BRYANT Case Type: Non Family Abduction DOB: Feb 17, 1989 Sex: Male Missing Date: Mar 29, 1989 Race: Black Age Now: 23 Height: 1'7" (48 cm) Missing City: BROOKLYN Weight: 10 lbs (5 kg) Missing State : NY Hair Color: Black Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Brown Case Number: NCMC721896 Circumstances: Andre's photo is shown age-progressed to 22 years. He was last seen with his mother, who was later found deceased. Mother and child had left their residence at about 2 p.m. to go shopping with two black female acquaintances in a burgundy Pontiac Grand Am, possibly with Maryland tags.

  • ANDRE TERRENCE BRYANT Age Progression

  • CHRISTOPHER MILTON DANSBY Case Type: Non Family Abduction DOB: Mar 30, 1987 Sex: Male Missing Date: May 18, 1989 Race: Black Age Now: 25 Height: 2'6" (76 cm) Missing City: NEW YORK Weight: 30 lbs (14 kg) Missing State : NY Hair Color: Black Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Brown Case Number: NCMC724088 Circumstances: Christopher's photo is shown age-progressed to 20 years. He was last seen in a park located on 114th Street and Lenox Avenue. He has a birthmark shaped like a figure "8" on his neck.

  • CHRISTOPHER MILTON DANSBY, Age Progression

  • TIFFANY MADIA DIXON Case Type: Endangered Missing DOB: Jul 18, 1979 Sex: Female Missing Date: Oct 10, 1991 Race: Hispanic Age Now: 32 Height: 5'2" (157 cm) Missing City: BROOKLYN Weight: 105 lbs (48 kg) Missing State : NY Hair Color: Black Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Brown Case Number: NCMC760721 Circumstances: Tiffany's photo is shown age-progressed to 32 years. She walked her younger brother to his school, then continued on her way to her school, three blocks away. She never arrived at her school and has not been seen since.

  • TIFFANY MADIA DIXON Age Progression

  • AUDREY LYNN LEINOFF Case Type: Family Abduction DOB: Apr 14, 1984 Sex: Female Missing Date: May 25, 1988 Race: White Age Now: 28 Height: 3'6" (107 cm) Missing City: STATEN ISLAND Weight: 40 lbs (18 kg) Missing State : NY Hair Color: Brown Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Brown Case Number: NCMC752184 Circumstances: Audrey's photo is shown age-progressed to 25 years. She may be in the company of her mother. They may have left the country and traveled to Israel.

  • AUDREY LYNN LEINOFF Age Progression

  • SHARAUN COLE Case Type: Endangered Missing DOB: Oct 8, 1970 Sex: Female Missing Date: Feb 25, 1983 Race: Black Age Now: 41 Height: 5'6" (168 cm) Missing City: NEW YORK Weight: 110 lbs (50 kg) Missing State : NY Hair Color: Brown Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Brown Case Number: NCMC857497 Circumstances: Sharaun's photo is show aged to 39 years. She was last seen outside of her home and has not been seen or heard from since. Sharaun may also use the date of birth October 8, 1969.

  • SHARAUN COLE, Age Progression

  • DENIESE HIRAMAN Case Type: Endangered Missing DOB: Oct 6, 1985 Sex: Female Missing Date: Aug 27, 1999 Race: Black Age Now: 26 Height: 5'3" (160 cm) Missing City: QUEENS Weight: 90 lbs (41 kg) Missing State : NY Hair Color: Brown Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Brown Case Number: NCMC876542 Circumstances: Deniese's photo is shown age-progressed to 24 years. She was 13 years old when she went missing from her home in Queens, NY on August 27, 1999. Deniese is of Guyanese descent. She has a scar on her right forearm. Her ears are pierced. Deniese was known to wear non-prescription contact lenses to change the color of her eyes. She spoke fluent Guyanese and English. Her nicknames are Pinky and Pinks.

  • DENIESE HIRAMAN Age Progression

  • LEANNE MARIE HAUSBERG Case Type: Endangered Missing DOB: Aug 9, 1984 Sex: Female Missing Date: Mar 18, 1999 Race: Biracial Age Now: 27 Height: 5'4" (163 cm) Missing City: BROOKLYN Weight: 120 lbs (54 kg) Missing State : NY Hair Color: Brown Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Brown Case Number: NCMC861608 Circumstances: Leanne's photo is shown age-progressed to 24 years. She may still be in the area. She has a small scar on her right cheek. Leanne is Biracial. She is American Indian and White.

  • LEANNE MARIE HAUSBERG, Age Progression

  • PRINCESS PEREZ Case Type: Endangered Missing DOB: Nov 30, 1993 Sex: Female Missing Date: Jun 15, 1996 Race: White/Hisp Age Now: 18 Height: 2'1" (64 cm) Missing City: BRONX Weight: 25 lbs (11 kg) Missing State : NY Hair Color: Brown Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Brown Case Number: NCMC860028 Circumstances: Princess was last seen on June 15, 1996 in the Bronx area of New York City. She has not been seen since. FOUL PLAY SUSPECTED.

  • AMIRA FAROOQ MUBARAK Case Type: Family Abduction DOB: Aug 30, 1999 Sex: Female Missing Date: Aug 5, 2000 Race: Asian Age Now: 12 Height: 2'0" (61 cm) Missing City: MANHATTAN Weight: 30 lbs (14 kg) Missing State : NY Hair Color: Black Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Brown Case Number: NCMC892162 Circumstances: Amira's photo is shown age-progressed to 10 years. Amira was allegedly abducted by her father, Muhammad Farooq Butt. A felony warrant was issued for the abductor on August 18, 2000. Amira and the abductor are of Pakistani descent. Amira has a birthmark on her arm. The abductor has a mole on his chin and may have a goatee. They may have left the country.

  • AMIRA FAROOQ MUBARAK, Age Progression

  • DENISE MARIE SHEEHY Case Type: Endangered Missing DOB: Feb 20, 1954 Sex: Female Missing Date: Jul 7, 1970 Race: White Age Now: 58 Height: 5'3" (160 cm) Missing City: WOODSIDE Weight: 103 lbs (47 kg) Missing State : NY Hair Color: Brown Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Brown Case Number: NCMC924905 Circumstances: Denise's photo is shown progressed to age 52. She was last seen leaving her house on July 7, 1970 and she has not been seen or heard from since. Denise has pierced ears.

  • DENISE MARIE SHEEHY, Age Progression

  • EMILY JUAN Case Type: Family Abduction DOB: Oct 21, 2003 Sex: Female Missing Date: Sep 5, 2004 Race: Biracial Age Now: 8 Height: 2'3" (69 cm) Missing City: FLUSHING Weight: 19 lbs (9 kg) Missing State : NY Hair Color: Brown Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Brown Case Number: NCMC997267 Circumstances: Both photos on the left are of Emily. The larger photo was taken when Emily was 3 years old and the smaller inset photo was taken prior to when she went missing. The middle photo shows Emily age-progressed to 5 years. She was allegedly abducted by her mother, Nadia Juan, on September 5, 2004. A federal warrant for International Parental Kidnapping was issued for the abductor on February 17, 2005. They may have traveled to Taiwan. Emily is Biracial. She is Asian and White. Nadia may use the alias first name Mei-Fen or Julia.

  • EMILY JUAN, Age Progression

  • BRANDON MEMA Age Progression Case Type: Family Abduction DOB: Mar 7, 1998 Sex: Male Missing Date: Oct 27, 2000 Race: White Age Now: 14 Height: 2'0" (61 cm) Missing City: BROOKLYN Weight: 45 lbs (20 kg) Missing State : NY Hair Color: Blonde Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Green Case Number: NCMC1005751 Circumstances: Brandon's photo is shown age-progressed to 12 years. He may be in the company of his mother. They may still be in the local area or they may have traveled out of the state.

  • BRANDON MEMA Age Progression

  • EDMOND TILLMAN Case Type: Endangered Runaway DOB: Jan 19, 1991 Sex: Male Missing Date: Aug 10, 2005 Race: Black Age Now: 21 Height: 5'3" (160 cm) Missing City: BROOKLYN Weight: 145 lbs (66 kg) Missing State : NY Hair Color: Brown Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Brown Case Number: NCMC1023109 Circumstances: Edmond's photo is shown age-progressed to 17 years. He may still be in the local area. Edmond's left ear is pierced. His nickname is Eddie.

  • EDMOND TILLMAN, Age Progression

  • ARKADIY TASHMAN Case Type: Endangered Runaway DOB: Oct 12, 1987 Sex: Male Missing Date: Jan 26, 2005 Race: White Age Now: 24 Height: 6'2" (188 cm) Missing City: STATEN ISLAND Weight: 170 lbs (77 kg) Missing State : NY Hair Color: Lt. Brown Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Gray Case Number: NCMC1007600 Circumstances: Arkadiy's photo is shown age-progressed to 21 years. He was last seen at home on January 26, 2005. He has a pierced left ear and scars on both arms. His nickname is Ark.

  • ARKADIY TASHMAN, Age Progression

  • LIAM GABRIELE MCCARTY Case Type: Family Abduction DOB: Jul 22, 2001 Sex: Male Missing Date: Mar 6, 2007 Race: White Age Now: 10 Height: 3'5" (104 cm) Missing City: NEW YORK Weight: 45 lbs (20 kg) Missing State : NY Hair Color: Blonde Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Blue Case Number: NCMC1066323 Circumstances: The child was allegedly abducted by his mother, Manuela Antonelli. A federal warrant for International Parental Kidnapping was issued for the abductor on April 16, 2007. They are believed to have left the country and traveled to Italy.

  • SELAH LEE DAVIS Case Type: Endangered Missing DOB: Oct 20, 2007 Sex: Female Missing Date: Feb 15, 2008 Race: Black Age Now: 4 Height: 2'0" (61 cm) Missing City: BRONX Weight: 20 lbs (9 kg) Missing State : NY Hair Color: Black Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Brown Case Number: NCMC1091315 Circumstances: Selah was last seen on February 15, 2008. She may be in the company of her mother and an adult male. They may have traveled to Rochester, New York.

  • STEFAN BARBAT-ALEXANDER Case Type: Family Abduction DOB: May 16, 2000 Sex: Male Missing Date: Jul 24, 2008 Race: Biracial Age Now: 12 Height: 4'2" (127 cm) Missing City: BROOKLYN Weight: 50 lbs (23 kg) Missing State : NY Hair Color: Brown Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Brown Case Number: NCMC1105285 Circumstances: The photo in the center was taken after the child went missing, in 2010. Stefan was allegedly abducted by his mother, Marcela Barbat, on July 24, 2008. A felony warrant for Kidnapping was issued for Marcela on December 30, 2008. They are believed to be in Romania. Stefan is biracial. He is Black and White. Marcela's ears are pierced. Her nickname is Marci and she may use the last name Barbat-Alexander.

  • PATRICK KENNEDY ALFORD Case Type: Endangered Missing DOB: Nov 28, 2002 Sex: Male Missing Date: Jan 22, 2010 Race: Biracial Age Now: 9 Height: 4'8" (142 cm) Missing City: BROOKLYN Weight: 65 lbs (29 kg) Missing State : NY Hair Color: Black Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Brown Case Number: NCMC1139843 Circumstances: Patrick's photo is shown age-progressed to 9 years. He was last seen on January 22, 2010. Patrick may be in or near Brooklyn, New York. He was last seen wearing a red t-shirt, blue jeans, and blue and black Michael Jordan sneakers. Patrick is biracial. He is Black and Hispanic. Patrick has a scar on his left eyebrow.

  • PATRICK KENNEDY ALFORD, AGE PROGRESSION

  • MUSTAPHA BARRY Case Type: Family Abduction DOB: Aug 12, 2004 Sex: Male Missing Date: Jul 30, 2010 Race: Black Age Now: 7 Height: 4'3" (130 cm) Missing City: BROOKLYN Weight: 90 lbs (41 kg) Missing State : NY Hair Color: Black Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Brown Case Number: NCMC1157478 Circumstances: Mustapha may be in the company of his father. They may travel to Guinea or Sierra Leone.

  • YOUSSEF NABIL ELSAYED HASSAN Case Type: Family Abduction DOB: Feb 7, 2003 Sex: Male Missing Date: Aug 11, 2010 Race: Biracial Age Now: 9 Height: 3'10" (117 cm) Missing City: NEW YORK Weight: 45 lbs (20 kg) Missing State : NY Hair Color: Black Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Brown Case Number: NCMC1157637 Circumstances: The photos on the left and middle are of Youssef. He was allegedly abducted by his father, Nabil Hassan, on August 11, 2010. A felony warrant for Kidnapping was issued for Nabil on November 22, 2010. They may have traveled to Egypt. Their primary languages are Arabic and English. Youssef is of Hispanic and Egyptian descent. He has a birthmark on his left leg and he may use the alias name John Anthony De La Torre. Nabil has a scar on his left arm and hand and he may use the alias last name Eladawy Maysara.