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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

FBI confirm rape claim against Etan Patz suspect

The niece of the new suspect in the Etan Patz disappearance has corroborated claims that he raped her when she was twelve, law enforcement sources say.

The suspect, Othniel Miller, was a handyman who had a basement workshop a few doors from Patz’s SoHo apartment building.

Miller’s ex-wife, Phyllis, told the FBI last year that she divorced the handyman after learning that he had raped his young niece, law enforcement sources said.

The niece echoed the ex-wife’s allegation, the sources said.

Miller’s lawyer said his client’s reputation was being dragged through the mud.

“I will not comment on what anonymous sources claim without accountability,” Michael Farkas said. “I have no idea if this is accurate or not and it is despicable that information continues to leak in what is supposed to be a professional investigation.”

That child rape accusation against Miller was part of a search warrant for his former workshop, which was on the two-block route Etan was walking to his school bus when he disappeared on Friday, May 25, 1979.

Miller, who is 75 and ailing, cooperated in the probe.

NYPD and FBI investigators began tearing up the basement floor at 127B Prince St. on Thursday. They ended the search Monday after police spokesman Paul Browne reported that no “obvious human remains” were found.

“It’s not over till it’s over,” Patz’s disappointed dad, Stan, said after the search was called off.

Miller was a familiar figure in the neighborhood and knew Etan. The night before Etan disappeared, Miller “hired” the small boy as a helper for $1.

When Etan vanished, the basement in Miller’s building got a brand-new cement floor.

No one was ever arrested or charged with Etan’s disappearance, but in 1985 a pedophile named Jose Ramos was identified as the prime suspect in the case. His girlfriend baby-sat for Etan.

Ramos, who is 68 and is currently doing time in a Pennsylvania prison for molesting two boys, has admitted taking a young boy back to his apartment to rape on the day Etan disappeared. He said the boy looked like Etan, but insisted he let the boy go.

The creep was declared responsible for Etan’s death in 2004 in a New York civil case.

Ramos is due to be released in November.

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