Entries in Missing children (4)


Pedro Hernandez Charged in Killing of Etan Patz

Photodisc/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Prosecutors are trying to figure out how they will prosecute the man who confessed to killing six-year old Etan Patz 33 years ago.

Pedro Hernandez, 51, was formally charged in court on Friday after tearfully confessing to police that he killed Etan Patz after luring him away from a bus stop.

Many are questioning whether this confession is authentic since it has been decades since the disappearance occured. ABC News Consultant and former FBI Special Agent, Brad Garret, explained why Hernandez may have come forward now.

"When the District Attorney's office, with the help of the FBI, started actively looking again around locations close to Etan's house and in a basement that they excavated recently looking for human remains, which they didn't find, it brought the case back into the public again.  That sometimes can have an effect, both on offenders and the people around them that may have heard something."

Police started investigating Hernandez after receiving a tip from Jose Lopez, Hernandez’s brother-in-law. According to Lopez, Hernandez told family members that he had “done a bad thing” and “had killed a child in New York.”

ABC Legal Analyst Dan Abrams explained what prosecutors will probably do next, “after this kind of confession, the authorities say a three and a hour tearful confession, does he end up pleading guilty and just say you know what, I want to put this behind me. If he does not, there could be some challenges. The key will be the testimony of relatives, the key will be any objective facts that they have, any corroborating evidence, but that confession is going to be absolutely crucial.”

Hernandez will enter a plea after a pysch evaluation, and has been put on suicide watch.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Toddler Missing after Washington Mom Left Car Unattended

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(BELLEVUE, Wash.) -- The FBI has joined the search for a toddler missing since Sunday morning after his mother said she left him alone for an hour in an unlocked car in Bellevue, Wash.

The mother, whose name has not been released by police, said she was driving with her two children when she had run out of gas on busy 112th Ave.

She and her 4-year-old trekked about a mile to a nearby gas station to Northtowne Chevron Service, leaving 2-year-old Sky Metalwala in the car. When they returned to the 4-door silver Acura an hour later, she said the boy was gone.

There was no sign of forced entry, according to police, who stopped searching the area near the car on Sunday.

"They feel very confident that they were able to search the surrounding area where the child might have wandered off to," Bellevue police spokeswoman Carla Lafrate told ABC News affiliate KOMO Sunday.

Since then, more than 50 emergency responders have been searching a wooded area of Bellevue, using police dogs.

The child's uncle, Sam Metalwala, told KOMO the boy's parents are going through a divorce after being married for seven years. And for now, all the family can do is hope for a new lead.

"They just told us to wait by the phone, so we're just waiting by the phone to see," he said.

King 5 News reported the father hasn't had any contact with his children since January, and court records show "both parents were cited in December 2009 for leaving a child unattended" and subsequently asked to complete parenting classes.

Police said the family has been cooperating with investigators.

Sky is half Indian and half Caucasian, with brown eyes and dark buzz-cut hair. He was last seen wearing a dark green hooded sweatshirt with blue and gray striped Carter's pants.

Anyone who sees a child matching this description is asked to call 911 immediately.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Police: Dad Admits Burying Missing Children in Mississippi and Alabama

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MOBILE, Ala.) -- Police are trying to find the bodies of two children whose disappearance went unnoticed for months, and now the kids' father and stepmother are blaming each other for the deaths.

Police in Mobile, Ala. say John DeBlase, 27, has admitted to burying one child this past March in Mississippi, and another in June in Alabama.

But no one realized the children had vanished until November, when stepmother Heather Leavell Keaton told police that five-year-old Natalie and three-year-old Chase DeBlase were missing. Keaton allegedly told police she feared DeBlase had killed the children.

Mobile Police Chief Michael Williams said DeBlase has not admitted to killing the children, only to burying them.

"He's given us an indication of a location where they may be, where he remembers burying the children. So the investigators will go out and they will scout those areas with a team of people, with cadaver dogs and with the teams that do that for a living," Williams said.

But police say DeBlase is blaming Leavell-Keaton for the children's deaths. Leavell-Keaton is currently in custody in Louisville, Ky., and awaiting extradition to Mobile, Louisville police told ABC News.

Police, however, say both are responsible.

"Detectives have determined that both John DeBlase and Heather Keaton are responsible for the deaths of three-year-old Jonathan DeBlase and four-year-old Natalie DeBlase, and police will continue to search for the children," Levy said.

DeBlase was arrested in Florida on Friday and charged with abuse of a corpse and aggravated assault in connection with the case police said. Leavell-Keaton was arrested on an outstanding warrant charging her with child abuse.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 


New Details in Michigan Missing Children Case

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(MORENCI, Mich.) -- Police in southern Michigan say three missing boys may be in extreme danger after their father attempted suicide.  The boys haven't been seen since before they were supposed to be dropped off at their mother's home Friday afternoon.  The father apparently claimed he left them with a woman he met over the internet, named Joann Taylor. He said he didn't want them in the house when he hanged himself.  Authorities have not been able to locate Taylor or the silver van she is supposed to have been driving.

John Skelton, 39, of Morenci, Mich., is being treated for "mental health issues" at an Ohio hospital.  Authorities issued an Amber Alert for his sons, who are 5, 7 and 9 years old.  Their names are Andrew, Alexander and Tanner.  Skelton has not been named as a suspect in the boys' disappearance but police say he has not been ruled out either.  Skelton is separated from the boy's mother.

He told authorities he had an online relationship with Taylor and that she lives in either Hillsdale or Jackson County but authorities haven't been able to confirm a woman by that name even exists.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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