Etan Patz Evidence Dig Found No Human Remains, Cops Say
By Kiratiana Freelon on April 23, 2012 9:49am |
By Trevor Kapp and Patrick Hedlund
SOHO — Investigators who tore apart a Prince Street basement in search of the remains of Etan Patz concluded their dig Monday with no "obvious" sign of human remains at the site, police said.
''No obvious human remains were uncovered, although there is still some follow-up forensic testing happening," NYPD spokesman Paul Browne told reporters Monday about noon, as FBI investigators wrapped up their excavation work.
He added that the search for remains officially ended Sunday afternoon, and that Patz's parents had been informed that nothing was recovered.
FBI agents spent five days digging inside the 127 Prince St. basement that was at the center of a renewed probe into the 6-year-old’s disappearance more than three decades ago.
The FBI concluded the on-site portion of the search Monday morning, a day after agents had to temporarily suspend debris removal because of rain, the agency announced.
Streets and businesses in the area that were closed last Thursday due to the work will reopen Monday, authorities noted.
The basement space is believed to have played part in Patz’s disappearance in 1979, cops noted, and investigators hauled away a large Dumpster full of debris Monday morning that will be preserved at a Staten Island landfill for possible future inspection.
Reports indicated that no major evidence, including blood, were discovered during the days-long dig. Some hair found at the scene did not appear to match Patz's, the New York Post reported.
"We'll wait to see what that forensic evidence shows, if anything, and then investigators on the case will consult on it," Browne noted.
On Saturday, probers reportedly discovered a piece of drywall with a “stain of interest” that could provide new clues into the boy’s still-unsolved disappearance and presumed murder.
Patz was walking to a school bus stop alone for the first time near his Prince Street home on May 25, 1979, when he went missing.
Investigators said they would search the building “as long as it takes” after arriving at the scene last Thursday morning to begin work.
The significance of the stain found Saturday was not immediately clear, but the evidence was sent to the FBI's lab in Virginia for analysis along with other debris, sources said.
The stain discovery came amid reports that the FBI had questioned a man, Jesse Snell, who had done work for handyman Othniel Miller, who is now considered a prime suspect in Patz's disappearance, sources said.
Snell was spotted at the building that investigators are probing, which was Miller's former workspace, the morning that Patz disappeared, NBC said.
Probers began looking at the space after Miller's ex-wife told FBI agents as part of the renewed investigation that the suspect had raped his 10-year-old niece several years after Patz disappeared.
FBI investigators have yet to track down the niece to confirm the story, according to sources, and Miller's lawyer, Michael Farkas, said that he first heard the allegation Saturday and couldn't comment.
Patz was pronounced dead in 2001 and no one was ever criminally charged.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office reopened the investigation two years ago after new evidence reportedly emerged in the high-profile case.
The DA declined to comment on the case Monday.