FBI Seeks Leads on Missing Boy in Israel
NEW YORK (AP) _ The FBI has sent two agents to Israel in the past month to look for new leads in the disappearance of schoolboy Etan Patz six years ago, the New York Post reported today.
The agents flew to Israel to put a photograph of Etan and two other missing children in a Romanian-language weekly magazine there, the Post said in a copyright story.
FBI spokesman Joseph Valiquette would neither confirm nor deny that the agents were in Israel.
The boy’s father, Stanley Patz, told the Post that the FBI is ″working on it.″ He added, ″I don’t expect anything to come of it. Let’s see what happens.″
The Post reported that some Israeli sources familiar with similar cases believe U.S. investigators were exploring the possibility that the child was the victim of a ″religious kidnapping.″
The Post did not define a religious kidnapping.
Etan was 6 years old when he disappeared May 25, 1979, while on his way to school. Oct. 9 marked his 13th birthday.
According to the Post, U.S. authorities said they were intrigued by the unexplained appearance of a photo of the boy in the magazine Revista Mea in 1981 and had the same photo published in the magazine’s Nov. 15 issue.
The editor of the Israeli publication told the Post that FBI agents went to his office three weeks ago and ″asked us to publish the picture of the boy.″
″We did because the FBI told us that they hope maybe somebody will contact the paper once the picture of the boy appears,″ said the editor, who was not named in the report.
″Our impression was that the FBI thinks somebody kidnapped the boy six years ago and brought him to Israel,″ he was quoted as saying.
The Post said the caption of the photo published identified the boy as Etan Ben-Haim, which in Hebrew means Etan, Son of Life.
The photo was one of those taken by Etan’s father which later appeared on thousands of ″missing child″ posters across the city.