Suspect in Patz Case Released From Prison, Then Rearrested
NEW YORK CITY — The longtime suspect in the disappearance of Etan Patz was released from a Pennsylvania prison Wednesday after serving nearly three decades behind bars — only to be arrested again for giving a false address, police said.
Jose Ramos, 69, who has already served 27 years for molesting two other boys, was set free Tuesday night but quickly detained after lying to authorities about where he planned to live after his release.
Ramos told Pennsylvania authorities that he would be living with his cousin in The Bronx, police said.
But well before Ramos was released from prison, officers in the Bronx Special Victims' Unit discovered that no apartments in the building Ramos listed as his new address were rented to Ramos or his cousin, sources said.
The cousin also told cops that she would never take in Ramos, claiming the convicted pedophile frightened her and her family when he would visit 35 years ago, police said.
"He thought he was outsmarting people again," a source said.
Ramos is due to appear in court again on Nov. 15. Under Pennsylvania law, Ramos faces a mandatory sentence of five years in prison and a maximum of 10 years, sources said.
Investigators suspected Ramos was responsible for the 1979 disappearance of Etan Patz, who was 6 years old when he went missing on May 25, 1979, after leaving his SoHo home for a nearby bus stop.
It was the first time his parents let him leave the house alone.
Authorities zeroed in on Ramos, who was dating Etan’s babysitter at the time, but were never able to gather sufficient evidence to charge him.
Ramos then admitted to investigators that he was with a blonde boy the day Etan disappeared, but insisted it wasn’t the same child.
While in prison, he was allegedly overheard sobbing, “Etan, I did not mean to hurt you. I loved you.”
Though no direct evidence tied Ramos to the crime, a civil judge declared that he was responsible for the boy’s disappearance in 2004.
Etan was officially declared dead in 2001, even though his body was never found.
Earlier this year, Pedro Hernandez, who had been working at a bodega near Etan’s house at the time of his disappearance, was charged with the crime.
“I did it,” he told investigators.
Hernandez is due back in court later this month.