A man in police custody has confessed to strangling Etan Patz, the boy whose disappearance 33 years ago sparked the movement to put the faces of missing children on milk cartons, the New York Times is reporting.
The man, Pedro Hernandez, told investigators he then wrapped the 6-year-old's body in a bag and put it in a box in Manhattan. But when he returned later, the box was no longer there, a law enforcement source told the Times.
[Related: Officials explain why the case was reopened]
The New York Daily News reported that Pedro Hernandez, 67, was picked up in Camden, N.J., on Wednesday.
Hernandez was apparently very emotional during the confession, an unnamed official told the Times, adding that the confession was videotaped, which is standard practice in New Jersey.
Etan went missing on May 25, 1979, while walking alone to his school bus stop for the first time. The bus stop was a just blocks from his home in New York's SoHo neighborhood.
[Related: How Etan's disappearance changed a generation]
The New York Daily News reported that Hernandez had come up on investigators' radar in the past as a handyman who worked in Etan's neighborhood at the time the boy vanished.
Click image to see more photos. (AP Photo/Stanley K. Patz)
Further details would be released later today, Commissioner Raymond Kelly said in a statement.
"Everyone is looking for closure," Roz Radd, who has lived in neighborhood 45 years told the Daily News. "Hopefully, he can tell us where his body is and the family can get some peace."
The case received renewed attention in April when a basement was excavated near where Etan disappeared. However, it yielded no obvious human remains and little evidence that could help solve the mystery of what happened to the boy.