Police in Etan Patz case confirm rape claim against suspect: report

Police and FBI are finished digging up a basement in New York, searching for the remains of a little boy missing since 1979.
No remains found of Etan Patz
Etan Patz was 6-years-old when he vanished in lower Manhattan in 1979

(CBS) NEW YORK - Authorities say the niece of Othniel Miller, who is a suspect in the Etan Patz disappearance, has confirmed reports that Miller raped her when she was a child.

Pictures: Etan Patz

The New York Daily News reports that according to law enforcement sources,  Miller's ex-wife, Phyllis, told the FBI last year that she left Miller when she learned that he had raped his niece.

The sources say the FBI had searched in vain for the niece, and found her early this week. She then confirmed the ex-wife's allegations.

The rape accusation was part of a search warrant for Miller's former basement workshop. The search that began Thursday ended Monday reportedly with "no obvious human remains" found.

"It's not over till it's over," Patz's father, Stan, said after the search ended.

Miller was a handyman who had a workshop down the street from 6-year-old Etan's lower Manhattan apartment building back in 1979. He allegedly gave the boy $1 for help with chores the night before he disappeared, May 25, while walking to the school bus.

The Daily News reports that on Sunday, the handyman's stepson Jason Webley insisted Miller's ex "made that up" regarding the rape allegation, and that he would never hurt a child.

"You can't swear for anyone, but I don't think he's in any way, form, or fashion involved in this," Webley said.

Complete coverage of the Etan Patz disappearance on Crimesider