UK & World News
US: Man Held Over Missing 'Milk Carton' Boy
A man has told New York police that he suffocated a six-year-old boy who disappeared 33 years ago.
Pedro Hernandez, who was detained in New Jersey, was being questioned about Etan Patz, who vanished on his way to school in 1979.
Etan was last seen alive setting off to his school bus stop for the first time. His abduction caused widespread anxiety among parents about leaving children unsupervised.
The boy's photo was one of the first of a missing child to be put on a milk carton in a national campaign to find him.
Hernandez worked at a shop in the Manhattan neighbourhood where Etan lived and moved to New Jersey shortly after the boy disappeared.
Hernandez said he suffocated the boy, then put his body in a box and left the box in an alley.
However, no body or box has been recovered, and Hernandez has not been charged. Investigators said they were still trying to confirm details of the man's s
NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly said further details would be released concerning the boy's death.
"An individual now in custody has made statements to NYPD detectives implicating himself in the disappearance and death of Etan Patz 33 years ago," Mr Kelly said.
The development was not related to the search of a Manhattan basement in April, said a source.
That search yielded no obvious human remains and little forensic evidence.
Jose Ramos, a convicted child abuser, who is in jail in Pennsylvania, had previously been the main focus of the investigation.
Ramos had been dating the boy's babysitter at the time he disappeared. Etan's father Stan had his son declared legally dead in 2001 so he could sue Ramos, who has never been charged criminally and denies harming the boy.
In 2004 a civil judge found him to be responsible for Etan's death.More recently, the focus had shifted to a 75-year-old Brooklyn resident, although he was not named as a suspect and denied any involvement.