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Cops Search SoHo Basement for Clues in Etan Patz Case

By Serena Solomon | August 8, 2012 7:54pm

SOHO — Hours after a story on DNAinfo.com New York revealed new insights into the killing of 6-year-old Etan Patz, police descended onto the scene of a former SoHo bodega where the boy's confessed killer, Pedro Hernandez, once worked.

Police spent two hours taking pictures of the building’s basement in an attempt to line up images with Hernandez's confession in May to murdering the SoHo boy, according to a police source. Etan was reported missing on May 25, 1979.

Three or four police trucks were stationed outside the 448 West Broadway location at about 3:45 p.m, according to local dog walker Laura Bong, who said she can still remember the news stories about Etan's disappearance more than 30 years ago.

"They were just all parked along the street," she said, adding that there were no police officers visible at the scene when she was there.

Police were seen carrying out bags, but a law enforcement source said "there was nothing new."

Among the evidence that has left police "absolutely certain" that Hernandez is guilty is the startling new discovery that Hernandez supposedly kept a photo of Etan grouped with his own personal belongings for years, law enforcement sources said.

The image, apparently a cutout of Etan's famous missing persons poster seen all over the city, was discovered by Hernandez’s first wife in the mid-1980s. 

While cops hold little hope of finding the picture, sources said the wife's testimony could be used as evidence in a grand jury.

Sources said another strong element in the case is Hernandez's sudden move from SoHo just weeks after Etan disappeared, without ever being questioned by the NYPD, sources revealed.

Since Hernandez's arrest this year, detectives have poured through a mountain of NYPD reports and found that his name surfaced early after Etan went missing.

However, some doubts have been cast over the confession from Hernandez, who has a strong history of schizophrenia and hallucinations. And some believe he deluded himself into the confession.

Police have also previously pinned the crime on convicted pedophile Jose Ramos, who was dating Etan's babysitter when the child vanished.

Hernandez was recently moved to Rikers Island after being held at Bellevue Hospital for weeks of psychological evaluation.

His next court appearance is in October.