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Ex-Patz case suspect faces new charge here

February 19. 2013 5:37PM
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KINGSTON TWP. – A man once considered a suspect in the disappearance of a New York City boy 33 years ago will face a Megan's Law charge in Luzerne County Court.

Jose Antonio Ramos, 69, appeared Thursday for a preliminary hearing before District Judge James Tupper, who forwarded for trial a single count of providing false information to authorities as a sexual offender.

Ramos was arrested Nov. 7 minutes after he was released from the State Correctional Institution at Dallas, where he completed a 27-year sentence for molesting children in Erie County, Pa.

State police at Wyoming allege Ramos, upon his release from state prison, gave a relative's address in Bronx, N.Y., where he would be residing as a convicted sexual offender under Megan's Law.

Investigators alleged Ramos' relative had not lived in the Bronx apartment in decades and had no intention of allowing Ramos to reside with her.

Ramos had long been a suspect in the May 25, 1979 disappearance of Etan Patz, 6, who went missing after leaving his Manhattan residence to go to a bus stop. Patz became the first child to appear on milk cartons as part of a nationwide program designed to locate missing children.

Investigators had focused on Ramos, in part because he had been dating the boy's babysitter.

Ramos remains jailed at the county prison for lack of $75,000 bail.

On Thursday, Pedro Hernandez, 51, of Maple Shade, N.J., was formally charged with Patz's kidnapping and murder.

Hernandez was a teenage stock clerk at a convenience store when Patz disappeared.

New York City investigators say Hernandez told them he lured the boy into the convenience store with the promise of a soda. He allegedly claimed he led the child to the basement, choked him and left his body in a bag of trash about a block away.

Patz's body has never been recovered.

Hernandez pleaded not guilty at a court appearance on Thursday in New York City.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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