|Etan Patz, Timeline|
I read this story and think of my son. How many of us have let our children make that first step to independence, and worried that we won't see them again. I bet every one of us.
It was different for Etan Patz, memorial day weekend, May 25, 1979: After 33 Years, Police Make An Arrest in Case of Etan Patz
It was all so innocent, it would be the first time that Etan would make the trip to the bus stop alone. His mother walked him to the front of the apartment complex that morning, never imagining she'd never see him again. Just a block and a half from the school bus stop in New York City.
The case remain unsolved until Pedro Hernandez, 51, confessed to the crime last week. According to the NY Times, Hernandez had confessed to family members' throughout the years. The family, even called New York police to report it. Some how, police dismissed his confession as him just being a "lunatic."
Hernandez was a 19 year-old bag checker - working at a bodega -on Etan's route, during the summer of 1979.
I can't tell you how many times I have looked back at how I raised my children and thought to myself; how lucky I am.
I can remember the firsts' for my children:
The first time I let them take the elevator by themselves to the front of our apartment building, to wait for the school bus. The first time I let my daughter bike to school, just 6 blocks away from home, when she was in third grade.
I remember asking her teacher if she thought it was safe. My daughter was already a third grader and I still worried.
I once took the children to a friend's company picnic during summer in Florida. The picnic was held on the Miami zoo's property. The picnic was barricaded off from the cages and animals. I hadn't batted an eye when they had escaped and gone under the security stanchions. I was talking to my friend, enjoying the picnic, and within seconds they were gone.
My heart stopped.
I thought of Adam Walsh, I thought of never seeing them again. I raced to the security guards, and a massive search ensued that Saturday afternoon. The zoo was flooded with people. Five minutes into the search, I still could not see them. The zoo in Miami, as most zoos, was huge and spread out.
Finally after running like a manic from cage to cage, I found them, holding hands in front of the monkey cage.
They were so precious, reminding me of Hansel and Gretel.
Things might not have turned out as well. It could have been a tragedy. Why is one child lost forever and another found?
As a parent, I can't come to grips with that.
Just "dumb" luck I suppose. It is not that one parent is any better or worse when tragedy strikes.
It is easy to blame the parents. The truth is, kids' are like contortionists. In the blink of an eye, they can get out of a car, run away from a table, lose you in a crowd.
I am happy that Etan Patzs' family has finally got closure. Ever time I hear his story, and other stories of lost children, I think to myself how lucky I am.
How lucky I am...