by Lisa R. Cohen
Grand Central Publishing
400 pages (per amazon my copy has 367)
Amazon.com Sales Rank: #689 in Books
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#2 in Books > Nonfiction > True Accounts > True Crime
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from amazon.com: "On the morning of May 25, 1979, six-year-old Etan Patz left his apartment to go to his school bus stop. It was the first time he walked the two short blocks on his own.
But he never made it to school that day. He vanished somewhere between his home and the bus stop, and was never seen again.
The search for Etan quickly consumed the downtown Manhattan neighborhood where his family lived. Soon afterward, "Missing" posters with Etan's smiling face blanketed the city, followed by media coverage that turned Etan's disappearance into a national story-one that would change our cultural landscape forever.
Thirty years later, May 25 is recognized as National Missing Children's Day, in Etan's honor. But despite the overwhelming publicity his case received, the public knows only a fraction of what happened. That's because the story of Etan Patz is more than a heartbreaking mystery. It is also the story of the men, women, and children who were touched by his life in the months and years after he vanished. It's the story of the agonies and triumphs of the Patz family. It's the story of the extraordinary twists and turns of federal prosecutor Stuart GraBois's relentless pursuit of his prime suspect. From GraBois's creative "outside the box" tactics, to the veteran cop who made his first pedophile bust on a dark Times Square rooftop, to the FBI rookie who cut her teeth chasing the case through the dark recesses of a child molester's mind, this is the story of all the heroic investigators who to this day, thirty years later, continue to seek justice for Etan.
In AFTER ETAN, author Lisa Cohen draws on hundreds of interviews and nearly twenty years of research-including access to the personal files of the Patz family-to reveal for the first time the entire dramatic tale."
From John Miller, former co-anchor of 20/20: "The story of the disappearance of Etan Patz is a story that almost everyone remembers the beginning of and only a handful of people know the end of. For the first time, Lisa Cohen finally unravels a complex and tangled mystery while seamlessly telling the heart wrenching story of a family trying to cope with every parent's worst nightmare. The vivid descriptions and the incredible detail make you feel like you are there every step of the way. The book pulls you in. It can be painful at times and still, you can't put the book down."
"Julie walks Etan down the three flights to the front door. He isn't tall enough to reach the lock himself... She sees the familiar figures of other parents and their children beginning to congregate near the bus stop, which is just barely out of sight around the corner..." Her friend and neighbor, Karen, was going to pick Etan up from the bus stop after school. When 3:30 p.m. comes around, Julie's concerned but thinks the buses are delayed since it is the first week back since the strike. Finally, she phones Karen. Karen assumed that when Etan hadn't gotten off the bus he had gone to another friend's, as he often did, for a semi-regular playdate. With Julie on the line, she asked her daughter if she knew where Etan had gone after school. "Etan wasn't in school today".
At 3:50 p.m., on a Friday before a three-day weekend, she calls the police to report her son missing. Now it was almost 4:30 p.m. and the cops still hadn't shown up. You see, way back when, the cops first thoughts were custody dispute or run away. What's the hurry, you'll find him at a friends house, what's one more in a crowd of kids - some other mother just forgot to call you to say he was at her house. By the time the police get there, there is no one at the school office to confirm Etan's absence. Luckily, one of the officers remembered he knew the janitor and they were able to get in. Absence confirmed. Etan never showed up to school.
Twenty years later, they still don't know what happened to their little boy.
This is a heartwrenching story but also a story of survival and triumph, friendship and hope. May 25, 1979 may have been the day innocence died for many but it is also the day eyes were opened. Okay, not exactly on the 25th but Etan was the catalyst for many of our child safety laws, including the Center for Missing and Exploited Children. He's why we teach our kids "good touch, bad touch" and "stranger danger". It is a must read for all who work with or have children, not to make you paranoid, but to make you aware. In Julie's own words, "They have to grow and gain confidence in themselves. You can't lock them in the house or in class. They'll never learn how to fend for themselves. Walk with them. Teach them how to protect themselves. Give them a life." (page 346)