NEW YORK (Reuters) - The FBI and the New York Police Department launched a search on Thursday in connection with the disappearance of Etan Patz in 1979 when the boy was 6 years old in one of the city's most prominent missing child cases.
Patz, who was one of the first missing children to appear on a milk carton, was formally declared dead in 2001.
The authorities began their search early on Thursday at the SoHo neighborhood building where the boy disappeared, FBI spokesman Peter Donald said.
"We are here conducting a search in connection with the ongoing FBI investigation into the disappearance of Etan Patz," Donald said.
Authorities did not immediately make clear whether they knew where Patz's body was located.
Patz's disappearance helped launch a national movement on the issue of missing children. The date May 25 was declared "National Missing Child Day" in his honor.
No one was ever criminally charged in Patz's disappearance but in 2004 his family won a $2 million civil judgment against Jose Antonio Ramos, a friend of Patz's babysitter. The sum has not been paid, and Ramos is serving a prison sentence for child molestation.
(Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Will Dunham)