Etan Patz Update: Jose Ramos, longtime suspect in disappearance case, to be released from Pa. prison today

Inmate Jose A. Ramos is shown in this May 28, 2010 file photo provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. Ramos, the man who was long the prime suspect in a landmark case of missing New York City boy Etan Patz is about to be released from a Pennsylvania prison where he spent more than 20 years for molesting other children. Ramos, a convicted pedophile whom authorities have called the prime suspect in the case, is set to be released Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012 from the State Correctional Institution at Dallas, in northeastern Pennsylvania, prison spokesman Michael Goyne said. (AP Photo/Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, File)
Inmate Jose A. Ramos is shown in this May 28, 2010 file photo
AP Photo/Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, File)

(CBS/AP) PHILADELPHIA - Jose Ramos, the former suspect in the 1979 disappearance case of Etan Patz, is scheduled to be released today from a Pennsylvania prison after spending more than two decades behind bars for molesting children.

Pictures: Man in custody in Etan Patz disappearance

"He will be released probably sometime in the morning," said prison spokesman Michael Goyne. "That's all the information there is."

The 69-year-old convicted pedophile will be released from the State Correctional Institution at Dallas in northeastern Pennsylvania after being the longtime suspect when 6-year-old Etan vanished in May 25, 1979 after leaving his Manhattan home alone to go to a bus stop two blocks away. Ramos was dating the boy's baby sitter at the time and later served the time in Pennsylvania for molesting two other boys.

Etan's disappearance prompted a massive international search and publicized the cases of missing children, making him the first vanished face ever pictured on a milk carton. The day of his disappearance, May 25, is now National Missing Children's Day.

In 2001, Etan's parents obtained a court order officially declaring their son dead. They have become outspoken advocates for child protection issues.

Ramos was declared responsible for Etan's death in a civil court in 2004, but the Manhattan district attorney's office has said there wasn't enough evidence to charge him criminally. Ramos denied any involvement in Etan's disappearance.

Earlier this year, a man named Pedro Hernandez became the new suspect charged with Etan's murder after police said he confessed this spring. However, authorities have not cited any additional evidence to implicate him beyond his own admission.

Prosecutors are expected this month to announce whether they believe there's evidence enough to continue pursuing a case against Hernandez. Hernandez worked at a convenience store near Etan's home when the boy disappeared and told police he strangled the boy and stuffed his body in a trash bag. His lawyer, Harvey Fishbein, said Hernandez is mentally ill.

Complete coverage of the Etan Patz case on Crimesider