The parents of a nine-year old boy in Brooklyn let him walk unescorted from day camp yesterday to meet them five blocks away. He got lost, asked a man for directions and is now dead. The man took the boy home, murdered and dismembered him. I cannot get the images of a young lost boy out of my head. He must have been frantic. He lived in a community of ultra-religious Jews that overprotects its children far more than most. I am guessing the boy didn’t have a cell phone and didn’t know the streets well. Even if his parents taught him never to talk to strangers, he had to think the circumstances required it.
What FOF doesn’t remember Etan Patz, the six-year-old New York City boy who disappeared in 1979, after his parents let him walk alone to catch the school bus, two blocks from their apartment? My son was three-months-old at the time and the thought of Etan and his parents’ anguish haunted me for years. At the time, I couldn’t imagine being able to live through something so traumatic. Posters of the child hung on lamposts and in store windows for months.
Etan was never found. It was as if he disappeared into thin air. It took less than a day to find the Brooklyn boy, but the discovery was unimaginable. I pray his mother and father have the faith and emotional strength help them survive their nightmare.