The disappearance of Etan Patz has captured our culture's horror and imagination for the past 30 years. A young, beautiful boy taken from a street in New York City in 1979 changed the way parents parented their kids for the next three decades and changed everything about the way we view strangers and missing children. And now, all these years later, someone has confessed to playing a role in the disappearance.
Pedro Hernandez was taken into custody late Wednesday night. He had previously been looked at in the case and lived in the same SoHo neighborhood as Patz and his family. Though he has implicated himself, police said they are treating his "confession" with skepticism.
Regardless, this is some movement after the disappointing basement search a few weeks ago that turned up no evidence of human remains.
The problem, of course, is that even if this is the answer and the case is solved, Etan Patz is still gone.
He would be nearly 40 now and it's impossible to know what he might have become and how much he would have accomplished had his young life not been taken.
It's hard sometimes to even fathom the evil that can be lurking around a corner and it's no wonder that parents have been scared ever since the Patz disappearance. After all, it was his first time walking to the bus alone.
That day he had convinced his parents to let him go to school on his own for the first time. Now, 33 years later, most of us can't imagine doing that. But then, it wasn't so weird. Back then it WAS normal to let a child as young as 6 years old walk a couple blocks to the bus.
Nothing will ever bring Etan back. But it would be so good if his parents could at last have an answer. From what it sounds like, Hernandez may have confessed to strangling the boy. Maybe they could stop torturing themselves with their worst fears and start knowing. "Closure" is a pipe dream. No one gets "closure" from losing a child.
Still, I hope this brings answers and at least can help stop the pain of wondering. Maybe they can at least move into a new phase of grief.
Do you think this will finally solve the case?