Nightly News   |  May 24, 2012

Man arrested for the murder of Etan Patz

Pedro Hernandez, 51, has confessed to strangling the boy who went missing more than three decades ago. NBC’s Ron Allen reports.

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>>> now to a story in the new york area that is getting national attention all day because it's a case associated with the start of a whole national movement . almost exactly 33 years aftera little boy named etan patz disappeared on his way to school, a man has told nypd investigators all these years later that he killed the boy. this comes just a month after authorities dug up a basement near the spot where the little boy vanished originally. we have more on this latest development tonight from nbc's ron allen .

>>> three decades after 6-year-old etan patz disappeared while walking two blocks to catch a school bus , the trail has led new york police to this new jersey neighborhood where pedro hernandez lives. police sources say hernandez , 51, said he lured etan with candy into the store he worked in back then. killed the boy, and disposed of the body.

>> we have a suspect in custody who has made a statement to the nypd implicating himself in the disappearance of etan patz 33 years ago.

>> law enforcement sources they sis man, hernandez 's brother in law, alerted police. after the case burst back into the spotlight last month, when dozens of investigators searched a basement along etan 's route for cloughs. sources say the brother-in-law said he admitted many years ago that he killed the boy. investigators are now trying to determine whether that story is true. and perhaps finally solve an iconic case that launched an era of heightens awareness about missing children across the country. etan was among the first children pictured on a milk carton . amber alerts would follow and a national clearing house for information on missing and exploited children. meanwhile, tan's parents still live in the same apartment on the same street where their child disappeared so long ago.

>> no matter the outcome of the investigation, we're going to have to go on living.

>> 33 years later, police may finally be able to give them an answer, or the search will continue on. ron allen , nbc news, new york .