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NYPD detains New Jersey man in Etan Patz case

This undated image provided Friday, May 28, 2010 by Stanley K. Patz shows a flyer distributed by the New York Police Department of Patz's son Etan, who vanished in New York on May 25, 1979.
This undated image provided Friday, May 28, 2010 by Stanley K. Patz shows a flyer distributed by the New York Police Department of Patz's son Etan, who vanished in New York on May 25, 1979.NYPD via AP, file

The NYPD is questioning a New Jersey man in connection with the Etan Patz case, the 6-year-old boy who vanished more than 30 years ago as he walked to the school bus from his SoHo home, NBCNewYork.com reported Thursday.

Police picked the man up sometime Wednesday evening and brought him to New York City for questioning, sources said.

The man was previously known to investigators and is not anyone new in the case, law enforcement sources said. He worked and lived in Patz's neighborhood when the boy disappeared.

For more on this case, visit NBCNewYork.com

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said in a statement that the man "has made statements to NYPD detectives implicating himself in the disappearance and death of Etan Patz 33 years ago."

An intensive search for Patz was renewed several weeks agowhen police dug up the basement of a handyman's workshop near Patz's SoHo home. A new layer of concrete had been laid over the foundation of the basement shortly after Patz disappeared.

That search yielded no new evidence of value, police said.

The man in custody Thursday so far has not provided details that would lead them to Patz's body, sources said.

Several sources have indicated some skepticism exists about the man's story, but police are being thorough in their investigation of any possible leads.

One other man has remained a longtime possible suspect: Jose Ramos, a drifter and onetime boyfriend of Patz's babysitter. In the early 1980s, he was arrested on theft charges, and had photos of other young, blond boys in his backpack. But there was no hard evidence linking Ramos to the crime. He is in prison in Pennsylvania on a separate case.