Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another


FBI Raids Basement for Etan Patz Evidence

The ur-missing child story approaches an end

Print Email
Patz and his mother.(Patz Imaging/NY Mag)

The case of Etan Patz, the six-year-old boy who disappeared one day in 1979 on the way from his parents’ SoHo apartment to a bus stop at Prince Street and West Broadway, may be approaching as much closure as it ever will. This morning, the FBI entered a nearby basement, a block away from where the Patzes lived, which at the time was known as a sexual hangout.

Patz and his parents were Jews, and even Jose Ramos, the man eventually, in a story full of weird twists, fingered (though never convicted or even indicted) as Patz’ killer, claimed newfound Jewish heritage at the height of prosecutors’ interrogations.

It was “the story that changed urban childhood,” as John Podhoretz tweeted this morning, the ultimate pageant of horror and cautionary tale, which occurred in the quintessential city to that city’s quintessential sort of inhabitant. The archetype the Patz case created has never disappeared; it was re-conjured mostly recently last summer when another young Jewish boy disappeared near his house and was killed amid suspicions that sexual assault was also involved. The difference is, they found Leiby Kletzky’s remains.

FBI Renews Search in Etan Patz Case in SoHo Basement [NYT City Room]
Related: What Happened to Etan Patz? [NY Mag]
Earlier: A Community To Be Proud Of, a Death to Mourn

Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

FBI Raids Basement for Etan Patz Evidence

The ur-missing child story approaches an end

More on Tablet:

Rediscovering the First Woman Rabbi

By Laura Geller — Ordained in 1935, Regina Jonas died at Auschwitz. Now, she’s being honored.