The media is buzzing about the recent murder confession by a man who claims to have killed Etan Patz in 1979. The 33 year old crime alarmed parents in New Jersey and across the nation after the boy, who was six-years-old at the time, disappeared while walking to the bus stop in New York City never to be found again.
Not surprisingly, officials are anxious to close the case on the crime. However, some feel that the publicity over the confession is premature. After all, the man who claims to have committed the crime is not the first to be implicated, or to implicate himself. There have been many false leads in the more than three decades since the murder took place.
Other famous cases support the fact that a confession does not always prove guilt. In fact, in the 1932 kidnapping of the child of aviators Charles and Anne Lindbergh there were more than 200 people that came forward claiming responsibility.
The man who confessed to the Etan Patz murder has no known history of pedophilia or murderous impulses. Although officials say he was lucid and believable during the three hours of questioning with detectives, further investigation is necessary. “If this was a baseball game, we would be in the first inning,” said one official.
Officials are trying to track down the man’s family to determine if he has a history of mental illness or if he has made false confessions in the past. Although this recent confession may prove to be true, until more information is available we don’t know who is responsible for the boy’s disappearance.
Source: The New York Times, “Publicity First, Evidence Later in Patz Arrest,” Jim Dwyer, May 24, 2012