NYPD gives basement another look in Patz case

A satellite television truck parks outside a residential storefront building at the corner of Prince Street and Broadway, after an earlier police search of the building in the ongoing Etan Patz investigation, Aug. 8, 2012 in the Soho section of New York.
AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

(CBS/AP) NEW YORK -- Back in May, the NYPD spent a lot of time in a SoHo basement looking for clues in the 1979 disappearance of Etan Patz.

On Wednesday, investigators gave the scene another look, reports CBS New York.

Authorities arrived at the location around 11 a.m. and ended their search in the afternoon. Reporter Gary Baumgarten of CBS Radio station 1010 WINS reported that investigators left the site of where Patz, then 6, was allegedly killed with some bags of potential evidence.

Sources told WCBS's Derricke Dennis that investigators have been taking new pictures and examining the basement following new statements made by Pedro Hernandez, who admitted two months ago to killing Patz, according to prosecutors.

New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne Browne said investigators returned to examine an area that wasn't looked at on earlier visits, said. The effort, he added, "wasn't based on any new information."

Browne declined to discuss what, if anything, was found.

Etan disappeared on his way to school on May 25, 1979, a date that would later be commemorated as National Missing Children's Day. A judge in 2001 declared him dead, but his body has never been found.

Hernandez, 51, was a teenage stock clerk at the time of the disappearance.

Hernandez said he lured the boy from the bus stop with the promise of a soda, before suffocating him in the basement of the store, according to prosecutors. He left the neighborhood shortly after and was never considered a suspect by police until recently, when a tipster called police to say they believed he was responsible for the boy's disappearance.

Court dates in the case have been put on hold as doctors evaluate Hernandez's mental fitness for trial and investigators seek more evidence beyond his alleged confession.

"There remains an enormous amount of energy and investigative efforts devoted to the case," Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said when asked about it at an unrelated news conference last week.

Defense attorney Harvey Fishbein has described Hernandez as bipolar and schizophrenic, with a history of hallucinations. The lawyer declined to comment Wednesday.