Etan Patz's disappearance 33 years ago was perhaps most disturbing, and grabbed the most national headlines, because of its narrative. May 25th, 1979 was the first time his parents, Stan and Julie Patz, allowed him to walk by himself the two blocks from their SoHo apartment to the bus. Later that day, Etan didn't return home from school -- and he still hasn't.
"The biggest thing is it was never solved," journalist Lisa Cohen, who spent years investigating Etan's case, told The Huffington Post last month. Cohen is the author of After Etan: The Missing Child Case That Held America Captive. "In most cases, the kid comes home. In this case, there are just no answers."
Additionally, Etan's parents' aggressive national media campaign to find him, and the abundance of photos of Etan (Stan is a photographer) helped launch his case into the national spotlight.
Four years after Etan's disappearance, President Ronald Reagan named May 25th National Missing Children's Day.
Etan's image was the first missing child's to appear on the side of a milk carton.
It's fitting then, that on the eve of National Missing Children's Day this year, the NYPD made its first arrest in Etan's case. Police commissioner Ray Kelly announced Thursday that Pedro Hernandez -- who worked at a bodega near the Patz's apartment at the time of Etan's disappearance -- confessed to luring Etan into the store with a soda before killing him. Pedro was arrested in New Jersey and is set to be arraigned Friday.
(For more details on Hernandez's confession, go here.)
Huffington Post commenters have questioned the attention Etan's case has received in the media compared to other missing children, namely non-white children.
And although the break in Etan's case will hopefully bring his parents some type of closure, we'd be remiss to forget New York City's other missing children, of which there are still many.
Thousands of children go missing in New York City every year. In 2010 alone, 6,544 children were reported missing in all five boroughs, according to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.
But the vast majority -- about 98 percent -- of those cases were listed as runaways. Roughly 121 cases involved children abducted by family members, and only 11 kids were reported missing for other, sometimes unknown, reasons.
Take a look at the photos of NYC's missing children below, courtesy of the National Center For Missing And Exploited Children. In some cases, the NCFMEC has provided computer-generated composite photos of what the missing children would look like today. Many are runaways, many were likely abducted by family members, and some, like Etan, just disappeared.
All photos and captions courtesy of the National Center For Missing And Exploited Children.