He was the first boy to ever appear on a milk carton. Now New York City Police are combing through trash records, hoping it can help solve the 1979 disappearance of Etan Patz.
Pedro Hernandez last week confessed to killing Patz, saying he choked the six-year-old boy to death, then threw his body away inside a trash bag. Those trans logs could help police determine whether to search local landfills in order to try to find the boy's remains.
Retired Nassau County police officer Lou Palumbo discusses the viability of searching New York City landfills for 33-year-old remains of Patz, and says it may not make sense to start combing through landfills.
"The real problem we have here is we're talking about hundreds of millions of tons of garbage over a 33-year period," Palumbo says. "The hope or expectation that the Sanitation Department is going to be able to give them some type of a focal point that they can then go in and randomly pick through the garbage because technology is not going to support them on this."
He adds, "this could turn to a case that happened at the beach, we went looking for one prostitute and found 10. Be careful what you wish for here because we're going in looking for Etan Patz and I have a really strange suspicion that other bodies have been discarded in this landfill, the same way they were at the beach. We're going to find bodies we're not looking for here."
"It could be problematic in that capacity but I think overall this makes looking for a needle in a hay stack like an easy undertaking," Palumbo says.
Forensic scientist Lawrence Kobilinsky has been following the Etan Patz case since the 6-year-old first went missing in 1979. Koblinsky was at the scene on Friday when investigators found a "stain of interest" that was sent to an FBI lab in Virginia for analysis.
However, Koblinsky says finding skeletal remains is key because it can help determine the height, gender, ethnicity and most importantly any marks that might show "if the child was stabbed."
This morning, Kobilinsky explains to Ashleigh Banfield how modern technology will be used to analyze possible DNA in the case.
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children president Ernie Allen on new leads in the Etan Patz case.