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Police resume search of basement in Etan Patz case

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 10:01 PM EDT, Fri August 10, 2012
  • It is at least the second time authorities have searched the basement
  • 6-year-old Etan Patz vanished in 1979 on his way to school
  • Police won't say what they're looking for
  • In May, police arrested Pedro Hernandez in the boy's suspected killing

New York (CNN) -- The New York Police Department searched a Manhattan basement Wednesday for at least the second time since July as part of its ongoing investigation into the 1979 disappearance of Etan Patz, the 6-year-old who vanished on his way to school.

Investigators at the site of a former bodega in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood removed at least five large paper bags and used tools, including a shovel, from the basement. They also searched it last month.

Police dug up parts of another basement in April.

Who is Pedro Hernandez?

An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported the number of times that authorities have searched the basement of a former bodega while investigating the disappearance of Etan Patz. They have searched that basement at least twice.

Hernandez allegedly confessed to the murder, telling authorities that he had lured Etan to the basement of a corner store where he once worked and allegedly strangled the boy.

Hernandez has been undergoing psychiatric evaluation and was arraigned on second-degree murder charges via video feed from his bed at Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital.

After Etan disappeared, investigators tried what was then a novel technique to try to find him: They put his face on thousands of milk cartons, a technique that would become more common in the next few years.

Relatives and authorities also put the images of missing children on billboards and fliers distributed by mail.

Opinion: Missing children, perception vs. reality

Those more assertive efforts eventually led to the AMBER alert system, which broadcasts news about missing children on TV, radio, the Internet, mobile phones and highway signs, and also puts the information on lottery tickets.

Missing child case 'awakened America'

CNN's Susan Candiotti and Joe Sterling contributed to this report