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After Etan: The Missing Child Case that Held America Captive
     

After Etan: The Missing Child Case that Held America Captive

3.9 21
by Lisa R. Cohen
 

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Now with a new chapter that brings the story up-to-date in light of the most recent developments in the case—AFTER ETAN unravels the full story of Etan Patz: the decades-long mystery, his family's long search for him, and the extraordinary efforts to bring his abductor to justice.

On the morning of May 25, 1979, six-year-old Etan Patz left his

Overview

Now with a new chapter that brings the story up-to-date in light of the most recent developments in the case—AFTER ETAN unravels the full story of Etan Patz: the decades-long mystery, his family's long search for him, and the extraordinary efforts to bring his abductor to justice.

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.

More than 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 R. Cohen draws on hundreds of interviews and more than twenty years of research-including access to the personal files of the Patz family—to reveal for the first time the entire dramatic tale.

Editorial Reviews

Nicholas Pileggi
"In the first-ever book on this celebrated case, Lisa Cohen finally gives us the answers behind the most vexing child kidnapping since the Lindbergh Baby. It's a harrowing portrait of a family's grief and an engrossing detective story. A powerful lesson in humanity tested and triumphant."
John Walsh
"Every American needs to know Etan's story."
New York Times
"Transfixing . . . a story that is stranger than crime fiction . . . [Cohen] has done a solid job of tracking the wayward details of the investigation."
The Daily Beast
"A real - life thriller, which kept me up long past midnight . . . A heartbreaking story, scrupulously researched, well-constructed and well-written."
John Miller
"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."
From the Publisher
"Every American needs to know Etan's story."—John Walsh"

Heart-wrenching . . . As true crime, this tragic tale is a standout."—Publishers Weekly"

Transfixing . . . a story that is stranger than crime fiction . . . [Cohen] has done a solid job of tracking the wayward details of the investigation."—New York Times"

Cohen covers the story from all angles and keeps the main thread of the investigation clear, even while sharing some of its most intriguing left turns and red herrings, including a series of child molestations by a former boyfriend of one of the boy's caretakers, and a trip, prompted by a psychic's vision, to Hell's Gate in the East River in search of Patz's body.
A masterful combination of deep human interest and detailed criminal investigation into a parent's worst nightmare."—Kirkus Review (starred)"

A real - life thriller, which kept me up long past midnight . . . A heartbreaking story, scrupulously researched, well-constructed and well-written."—The Daily Beast"

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."—John Miller, CBS News Chief Investigative Reporter; former Assistant Director, FBI"

In the first-ever book on this celebrated case, Lisa Cohen finally gives us the answers behind the most vexing child kidnapping since the Lindbergh Baby. It's a harrowing portrait of a family's grief and an engrossing detective story. A powerful lesson in humanity tested and triumphant."—Nicholas Pileggi

Janet Maslin
After Etan is a complex, many-tentacled account of just how tantalizingly close Mr. Ramos has come to incriminating himself in the Patz case and just how tirelessly he has tormented prosecutors, who have said they do not have enough evidence to charge him. In a book loaded with evidence of Mr. Ramos's pedophilia, his attraction to Etan, knowledge of the Patz family and capacity to dispose of a child-size body, Ms. Cohen makes a persuasive case that Mr. Ramos was involved. But her emphasis is less on his actions than it is on the winding, obstacle-strewn path to justice. She tells a story that is stranger than crime fiction and messier too.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Emmy-winning TV newsmagazine producer Cohen examines one of the most publicized missing child cases in America. On May 25, 1979, Etan Patz left his family's SoHo loft to walk two blocks to catch his school bus, the first time his parents let him make the trip alone. He was never seen again. Early in the investigation, police interviewed Jose Antonio Ramos, whose "interest in little blond boys" had become known to police, yet they dismissed Ramos as a suspect in the Patz case. But over the years, Ramos repeatedly intimated that he molested and murdered Patz and hid the body. Assistant U.S. Attorney Stuart GraBois doggedly and shrewdly pursued Ramos, hoping prison informants could coax a confession. Cohen details GraBois's efforts and the pain Stan and Julie Patz endured as years passed and Etan's fate remained a mystery. Perhaps most heart-wrenching is Stan's twice-yearly ritual of mailing Etan's "missing" poster to Ramos in prison, always with the same message: "What did you do to my little boy?" As true crime, this tragic tale is a standout, and Cohen, though no prose stylist, does a creditable job telling it. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
An engrossing account of a watershed missing-child case. On May 25, 1979, six-year-old Etan Patz disappeared while walking the two blocks to his bus stop on his way to school in lower Manhattan. The case-which TV newsmagazine producer Cohen convincingly argues changed the way Americans think about their children's safety-had a ripple effect beyond New York, eventually leading to the establishment of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, whose ubiquitous missing-child alerts on milk cartons in the 1980s raised public awareness about the phenomenon across the country. While most of those children were found and their abductors brought to justice, the Patz case remains open 30 years later. The author tells the complete, heartbreaking story, from day one of the boy's disappearance to his family's continuing efforts to bring a rapist and killer to justice. First-time author Cohen, who covered the case for 60 Minutes and Prime Time Live, admirably avoids a hysterical approach to the shocking subject matter. Instead, she lets the disturbing facts speak for themselves. The author had access to an astounding amount of information, including multiple interviews with Patz's parents and former chief prosecutor Stuart GraBois. She also consulted the TV interviews with the prime suspect, though he declined to cooperate on the book. Cohen covers the story from all angles and keeps the main thread of the investigation clear, even while sharing some of its most intriguing left turns and red herrings, including a series of child molestations by a former boyfriend of one of the boy's caretakers, and a trip, prompted by a psychic's vision, to Hell's Gate in the East River in search ofPatz's body. A masterful combination of deep human interest and detailed criminal investigation into a parent's worst nightmare.
author of Facing the Wind and Hospital Julie Salamon
"Lisa Cohen has done remarkable reporting in this thorough account of a family's terrible loss and the epic pursuit of justice that followed. "After Etan" has the gripping realism of "Law and Order," intensified by the knowledge that this harrowing case study is true."
Ernie Allen
"May 25th, National Missing Children's Day, recognizes thousands of children. Yet in reality, May 25th celebrates the life of one little boy, 6-year-old Etan Patz of New York, taken on May 25, 1979. "After Etan" is a powerful, extraordinary, true story about Etan, his courageous family, the drifter who changed their lives forever, and one tireless, tenacious prosecutor who never gave up in his quest for justice.
"After Etan" takes one back to the beginnings of a movement. It is the story of one child, whose photo taken by his photographer father became a symbol for millions and helped change the way America responded to missing child cases. It is the story of a heart-broken family who lived through the anger and anguish that too many families must endure, and whose courage and grace helped change the world. And it is the story of a re markable prosecutor for whom one case, one child became his life's work."

Liz Smith
"This powerful work plunged me back in time to a moment that haunts me to this day. Then step by compelling step it walked me thirty years forward, filling in the mysterious gaps of this celebrated case. Finally the book left me, in the present, cheering on its heroes.
For those who will never forget Etan's smiling face, the book answers many questions. For the rest of you, welcome to an ongoing page-turner so full of plot twists, it often reads like a fictional thriller. Except it's all true. This is former "60 Minutes" producer Lisa Cohen's first book, but hopefully not her last."

Joe Occhipinti
"Lisa Cohen is an outstanding writer with a compelling story that effectively educates the reader about the kidnapping death of Etan Patz in NYC. The book gives a better understanding of how the Patz case resulted in the creation of many law enforcement child safety programs, such as the Center for Exploited Children, Megan's law, Amber Alerts, among others. As in all good books, we need a "hero" and clearly that person is former Federal Prosecutor Stuart GraBois, whose dedication to duty and humanitarian concern for the Patz family has been a true inspiration to the entire law enforcement community."
former co-anchor of 20/20 John Miller
"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."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781455528615
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
08/21/2012
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
1,321,234
Product dimensions:
6.08(w) x 8.78(h) x 1.11(d)

What People are Saying About This

Nicholas Pileggi
In the first-ever book on this celebrated case, Lisa Cohen finally gives us the answers behind the most vexing child kidnapping since the Lindbergh Baby. It's a harrowing portrait of a family's grief and an engrossing detective story. A powerful lesson in humanity tested and triumphant.
John Walsh
When our son, Adam, was abducted in 1981, my wife, Revé, and I felt no one could really understand what we were going through. Then we met Julie and Stan Patz and found that we were members of a horrible but exclusive club. Their courage inspired us then and inspires us now. The worst thing for searching parents is the not knowing. Reading 'After Etan,' I relived that terrible time and it increased my admiration for Julie and Stan even more. And it made me even more grateful for dedicated public servants like the incredible prosecutor who ultimately produced some measure of justice for Etan. Every American needs to know Etan's story.
Liz Smith
This powerful work plunged me back in time to a moment that haunts me to this day. Then step by compelling step it walked me thirty years forward, filling in the mysterious gaps of this celebrated case. Finally the book left me, in the present, cheering on its heroes.
For those who will never forget Etan's smiling face, the book answers many questions. For the rest of you, welcome to an ongoing page-turner so full of plot twists, it often reads like a fictional thriller. Except it's all true. This is former "60 Minutes" producer Lisa Cohen's first book, but hopefully not her last.

Meet the Author

LISA R. COHEN is an Emmy Award-winning television newsmagazine producer, documentary filmmaker and journalism professor with over twenty years of network news experience, at both ABC and CBS News. She has been covering the Etan Patz story for over two decades, beginning with the segments on the case she produced for 60 Minutes and PrimeTime Live. She lives in New York with her family. AFTER ETAN is her first book.

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After Etan 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
BWLeitner More than 1 year ago
AFTER ETAN, Lisa R. Cohen's mesmerizing account of the tragic and complex circumstances surrounding the Etan Patz abduction, is one of the most engrossing books I've read in a long time. I was only 5 years old when the Etan Patz case became a media event, but being from the NY area, it permeated my world for years to come and likely added a sense of paranoia to every parent from my generation. Periodically, the story of Etan Patz would come to mind, and I failed to believe that after so much time this was still an unsolved case. No longer is that true, thanks to this remarkable and multi-faceted triumph. Cohen weaves together incisive factual reporting on every twist and turn of this enigmatic case with the suspenseful, page-turning instincts of a seasoned mystery writer. Cohen delves into the morass of this well documented case and sifts through some of the truly choice details that made it so nagging and painful. Cranks and crazies, psychic visions, hippie communities, jailhouse snitches and one pesky typewriter ribbon- they all coalesce to make AFTER ETAN a nerve jangling ride. Cohen seamlessly weaves together three concurrent and equally captivating stories throughout the book: the suffering of the Patz family and their ability to rise above their grief; the eerie and lurid life of Jose Ramos, the primary suspect in the case who eluded prosecution for years; and finally, Assistant U.S. District Attorney Stuart GraBois' valiant and dogged pursuit of justice. Cohen takes the reader from one unexpected event to the next, flouting the urge to sensationalize the story when it could have been so easy to succumb. As a result, AFTER ETAN stands as a salient piece of non-fiction and a riveting human interest piece. To call it simply a crime story, suspense novel, courtroom drama or even public service would be reductive. It's all of those and much, much more. It also stands as the definitive resource on the Etan Patz story, humanizing this child in ways that his widely-circulated image cannot. This is an essential and rewarding read for anyone willing and able to delve into such an emotionally wrenching story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Highly recommended
silkness More than 1 year ago
I remember seeing the posters all over the city when I visited my brother in NYC. On one of my last visits, I saw an old frayed poster and wondered if they'd found him. He was a beautiful lttle boy with the strange name that I never forgot. I was startled to learn there was only one book on this pioneer missing child case but I have to say, no other is needed, as this one covers it all. In a moving and empathetic way, the author depicts the parents heartbreak and despair, along with their struggle to get answers. The police investigation and possible suspects are all detailed. Cohen makes clear that this is one case that law enforcement has never given up on, despite the number of years that passed. And it is heart warming to know they cared, even when it dropped from public view. Although I knew there was no happy endings here - I read the book in one night.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this last year, and in light of new developments, am following new news reports closely. Hope it will not just lead to more heartache for his parents. They've been down this road so many times. The book is a great read!
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TrueCrimeGirl More than 1 year ago
I was a child myself when Etan went missing, and always wondered if this case was ever solved. The author conveys the sheer horror of the Patz family experience, as well as the sorrow and frustration all involved went through. The fact that the Patz family had new laws enacted through this tragedy is a testament to their strength. Also, because of the author's great detail and expressive writing regarding the story of Stuart Grabois, I do again believe in Superheroes.
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JM62 More than 1 year ago
Cohen tells this complicated story with great passion and finesse. I found the account of the disappearance absolutely compelling. Cohen blends circumstance and emotion skillfully without resorting to anything approaching histrionics. I doubt there is a parent alive who wouldn't read the account of Etan's disappearance and be dropped headfirst into the well of what such a moment would feel like, all the while being relieved and grateful that they could close the book and walk away from it. The work reminded me of the excellent writing by Philip Gourevitch in "A Cold Case." Highly recommended.
BookWormAG More than 1 year ago
This cautionary tale is a must for parents, teachers, and community leaders. Lisa Cohen's compelling narrative tells a heartbreaking story of loss, strength, diligence and faith.
avidreaderMF More than 1 year ago
I only knew a little bit about this case - the MISSING POSTER has always stuck in my mind. But this book went from A to Z, leaving nothing out, in story form. There were so many just incredible twists to this case, and I was blown away by the diligence of the federal prosecutor and the endurance of the family. They are true heroes in a world that doesn't have enough. I couldn't put this down - read it in two days.