People wonder why the Etan Patz case suspect fell through the cracks of the police investigation in 1979. This is especially true given all the latest crime lab advances and investigative techniques used now. But one key reason Pedro Hernandez did is quite simple: He quit working at the scene of the abduction shortly thereafter.
That would be a big red flag to today's crime fighters, as suspects often try to flee an area once they've committed such an offense. They might quit a job or even move away from a neighborhood.
Pedro Hernandez did both, quitting his job and moving to another state entirely. And yet it didn't spark police curiosity enough to warrant serious investigation into him as a viable suspect.
Why is that?
It was because they had tunnel vision back in 1979. They were so zeroed in on the man they believed to be the guilty guy, but had no proof to support, that they let the real guy get away...for 33 friggin' years.
The police believed then that the guy most likely responsible for Etan Patz's disappearance was the one the child had recently been in contact with, as far as they knew, and the one who had given the male child $1 for assisting him.
And it isn't that they were necessarily wrong to look strongly in that direction, as they always should consider the obvious, of course. But they shouldn't have ruled out the improbable, either. And that's the sad sorry state of so many cases that never get solved in America. And why so many victims' families never get justice or closure.
Heck, if it hadn't been for someone ratting Pedro Hernandez out this case would still be unsolved, despite the enormous amount of investigative and other manpower and taxpayer dollars expended otherwiseÂ—even this year.
So, finally, the person questioned in the Etan Patz case is the man they've been looking for all along.
Fortunately, police have a tool in their toolbox now that helps reduce such unnecessary delays in apprehending criminals, and it is known as DNA, like that used to arrest the Sierra LaMar suspect in California for another missing child case in the news this month.