I've posted in the past that I watch a lot of the forensic/who did it?/ Disappeared/ 48 Hours, shows. I think I keep watching because I want to know that the bad guy gets caught. I had DVRed 20/20 on ID and watched it this morning. This hour was about the first child disappearance that made national deadlines. Etan' ( pronounced A-tan') Patz. This little guy disappeared on the first morning he was allowed to walk to the school bus stop, at age 6, in NYC. It was the last day of school before Memorial weekend, 1979.
Six is way to young we say. His parents do admit that, as it turned out, it was. I had to remind myself that is the case that put the face on the milk cartoon. Truly, this was the case. I also remembered living near downtown Flint, Michigan in the mid to late 1950s and my mother sending me to the A & W by the jail, no less, to get hot dogs for us when my brother was a baby, my sister was 3-4 and I would have been 6-7 years old. I walked about 3 -4 blocks and back, to bring home hot dogs, for goodness sake. It was still a time of innocence. What happened to Etan' told us innocence was lost.
I remember his name so well. I was 29. My oldest daughter was 5. We lived in the little town I grew up in. A place where we didn't always lock the doors. A place where kids could ride bikes from one friend's house to another. The Etan' Patz case in far away, New York City changed my world.
Two years later another 6 year old little boy was taken. Adam Walsh....
I feel the reason we know more about who Adam Walsh was, is, no doubt, a tribute to his father's media experience. By the time Adam disappeared there was a pretty good link between Etan' and the man authorities are convinced abducted Etan', molested him and disposed of his body in the man's, (Jose' Ramos) furnace in his own apartment building.
This man was arrested some years later in Pennsylvania on molesting another child and is serving a 20 year prison sentence. He has talked about his involvement with Etan', with jail house snitches. He confessed and recanted to police, way back, nearly 30 years ago. Did the police drop the ball all those years ago? I think so. The scary thing is that 20 years is up in November 2012. He could be back out on the street again.
Did these things happened before? Of course they did. The Lindbergh baby was kidnapped in the 1930s and made huge headlines. Evil wasn't born with Jose' Ramos. But, I believe this was the first time we knew evil could happen to the common man, or to our children.
I've wondered for years about this little boy. I didn't know there was someone in the bull's eye for it. Now he may go free. I hope not.