As news of a pending arraignment in the murder of Etan Patz spread through SoHo Friday, residents new and old were hopeful the latest development in the case would help provide some closure to the family. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.
Prince Street in SoHo looks much different than it did in 1979, but the story of Etan Patz is still fresh in the minds of many residents who live there.
"I lived here when he disappeared and I had a young child so it was a hard time," said one SoHo resident.
The news of an arrest in the case spread quickly throughout the neighborhood where the NYPD Crime Scene Unit arrived Friday morning at the eyewear store that was once a bodega where Etan was allegedly murdered.
"When my husband told me as I was making breakfast I ran out of the kitchen and a chill just ran through my whole body," said one SoHo resident.
Some said they are amazed that the case could finally be closed.
"I'll be amazed if it's really the right guy. I'm hoping it's the right guy but I don't know we've all seen it happen so many times, so I don't know, I hope so," said one SoHo resident.
"This has been a story for so many years it would be great if there were some real answer now," noted another resident.
While many residents weighed in on the arrest, most had their thoughts with the Patz family. Others, though, weren't so sure that peace would come easily despite the development.
"As a parent all I can think of is, I was a teenager when it happened, I remember it, and I hope that it could finally be solved and there can be peace for his parents," said one SoHo resident.
"You lose a child you've always lost a child, it doesn't go away," said another SoHo resident.
"I just remember each time it was brought up again I felt for them because you are trying to put it out of your thoughts," added a third.
One thing everyone seemed to agree on was the fact that the Etan Patz case changed things not only in the neighborhood, but around the country.
"This little boy, through this tragedy, has changed everything with law enforcement with kids being missing and they're finding more children. But at what a cost, it's just a shame," said one SoHo resident.
One woman had praise for the police, saying they never really gave up on this case. She said it was like Etan was their own, the same way a lot of people in the neighborhood have felt for years.