For decades, the prominent case of a missing 6-year-old had a prime suspect: an admitted child molester in a Pennsylvania prison. Although the inmate was never criminally charged in Etan Patz' 1979 disappearance, he was found responsible in a wrongful-death lawsuit.
But investigators on Friday continued tearing up a Manhattan basement linked to someone else, a handyman who was recently re-interviewed by authorities. Through a lawyer, he denied having anything to do with Etan's vanishing, which helped turn missing children into a nationwide cause.
Authorities said they had yet to find any new evidence as of Friday, and the police commissioner and the FBI said they wouldn't discuss any possible suspects. It's unclear what the renewed probe may turn up, if anything.
But if it leads definitively away from Pennsylvania prisoner Jose A. Ramos and to someone else, it could create a legal conundrum: one person held accountable for the boy's death in civil court while another became the focus of a criminal case.