PHILADELPHIA — A man long considered the prime suspect in the disappearance of a New York City boy more than three decades ago was released from a Pennsylvania prison Wednesday and then was immediately arrested on a Megan's Law violation after providing a false address of where he would be staying, state police said.
Jose Antonio Ramos, 69, was taken into custody after his release from a northeastern Pennsylvania prison where he had spent more than 20 years for molesting children, according to state police and the New York Police Department.
Sex offenders are required to provide their addresses, and the one Ramos gave was that of a relative from decades ago, they said.
NYPD detectives looking into the matter said the cousin who once lived at the address told them she would not let Ramos live with her because she and her family were frightened of him when he would visit the apartment 35 years ago.
Ramos had long been suspected in the disappearance of 6-year-old Etan Patz, who vanished May 25, 1979, after leaving his Manhattan home to go to a bus stop two blocks away. It was the first time Etan's parents had let him go off to school alone.
Ramos had been dating Etan's babysitter. He later served the time in Pennsylvania for molesting two other boys.
Earlier this year, a new suspect named Pedro Hernandez was charged with Etan's murder after police said he confessed. Hernandez's attorney, Harvey Fishbein, has said Hernandez, of Maple Shade, N.J., is mentally ill, and authorities have not cited additional evidence to implicate him. Prosecutors are expected to announce this month whether they think there's enough evidence to continue pursuing a case against Hernandez.
Etan's disappearance prompted a massive search that stretched as far as Israel and spawned the national movement to publicize the cases of missing children. His photo was among the first put on milk cartons, and his case turned May 25 into National Missing Children's Day.