Stanley Patz, Father of Etan, Says Kids Should Have 'Leiby Phones' in Light of Kletzy Case

Etan_Patz_1978.jpg
Etan Patz in 1978
Stanley Patz is the father of 6-year-old Etan, who disappeared from a lower Manhattan street in 1979, making him, arguably, the most well-known missing child in New York City, as well as the first to appear on the side of a milk carton. Until last week brought another missing boy to the forefront of our attention both in the city and worldwide. With the tragic discovery of parts of Leiby Kletzky's body in both a dumpster and the freezer of his confessed killer Levi Aron has come a renewed focus on how to prevent such tragedies from occurring. The New York Times City Room blog reports that Patz has long been "conditioned" to expect a phone call whenever a child is missing in the city -- just another layer in the horror that parents in such situations must deal with. In the case of Leiby Kletzky, Patz did, in fact, have a suggestion to give.

After brooding over Leiby's murder for a few days, Mr. Patz wondered, why not put a basic, emergency cellphone in the hands of every child? At the press of a button, children who are lost or in danger could dial 911, Mr. Patz reasoned.

And, if the phones had global-positioning chips in them, they could help authorities track a child's whereabouts.

Perhaps, he added, it would be known as a "Leiby phone."

And why not? The concept has been tried before -- but for a cost. Maybe it's time to try again.

At the same time, parents are asking the Department of Education to lift the public school ban on cell phones in light of Kletzky's murder, reports the New York Daily News. Mayor Bloomberg agreed on his weekly radio show that cell phones are a key way for parents to know where their kids are, but his spokesman Stu Loeser says he won't reverse the rule in schools as cell phones are "major distractions."

Etan Patz was legally declared dead in 2001. Jose Antonio Ramos, a convicted child sex abuser in jail for child molestation, admitted to involvement in his disappearance and was declared responsible in 2004 in a civil case, for which a "symbolic" $2 million was awarded to the Patz family. They never collected the money. Manhattan D.A. Cy Vance, Jr., reopened the case into his disappearance in May of 2010. Ramos is up for release next year.

After Brooklyn Boy's Murder, Father of Etan Patz Has a Suggestion [NYT]
Mayor Bloomberg insists on school cell phone bans while parents demand ban lift for communication [NYDN]



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2 comments
CARELIS
CARELIS

THIS BEAUTIFUL BOY AND HIS OPEN SMILE  HAS HAUNTED ME OVER THE YEARS,  WHEN I HAD MY FIRST CHILD IN 1980 I THOUGHT OF HIM, WHEN I HAD MY SECOND AND THIRD CHILD I THOUGHT OF ETAN AGAIN, MY HUSBAND THOUGHT I WAS OBSESSED WITH THE CHILD, I REMEMBER THIS CASE LIKE IT WAS YESTERDAY, I PRAYED FOR HIS SAFE RETURN, AND WHEN THAT DIDNT HAPPEN I PRAYED THAT HE  WAS FOUND SO HIS PARENTS HAD A GRAVE TO VISIT, LAST NIGHT I WATCHED THE PROGRAM ABOUT HIM AND I COULDNT STOP CRYING, SAW A LOT OF PHOTOS I HAVE NEVER SEEN BEFORE AND HE WAS JUST SO BEAUTIFUL, SO INNOCENT,  I WANTED TO REACH INISDE THE TV AND KILL THAT PIECE OF SHIT RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS DEATH, MY HEART GOES OUT TO  HIS MOM AND DAD, I CANNOT PICTURE LIFE WITHOUT MY KIDS, HOW DO THEY STAND THE PAIN??

Conuly
Conuly

It's simple. Revert to the rule that schools mostly actually run by anyway: Allow them in school, but ban their use. Less hypocritical and less of a hassle.

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