The first child to appear on the milk carton Etan Patz disappeared 35 years ago from a New York City neighborhood. Etan’s disappearance shook parents across the nation to the reality of a safe America for kids.
Six-year-old Etan Patz disappeared in 1979 on the first day his parents allowed him to walk to school by himself. Etan’s disappearance launched a massive search and eventually became the catalyst for a missing children’s movement symbolized by Etan’s photo on a milk carton. The man who confessed to the kidnapping and murder of Patz went on trial Friday.
The lead suspect Pedro Hernandez was a teenage clerk near Etan’s bus stop; he lured the boy into the store’s basement and then strangled him. Hernandez made a videotaped confession in 2012 and re-enacted the crime for investigators. Hernandez’s arrest, 33 years to the day after Etan disappeared, upended a long-held and widespread belief among many — including law enforcement officials, the boy’s parents and a New York civil court judge — that another man was responsible. The blond, blued-eyed child was among the first missing children to appear on a milk carton. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated the day he vanished — May 25 — National Missing Children’s Day.