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Othniel MillerThe niece of Othniel Miller, 75 (pictured left), the top suspect in the cold case of 6-year-old Etan Patz, is accusing her uncle of raping her as a child, reports the New York Daily News.

Patz (pictured below), is a New York City boy whose disappearance without a trace the morning of May 25, 1979 sparked a massive citywide search. The case has remained unsolved.

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Investigators decided to reopen the case after a cadaver-sniffing dog reacted to the apartment building basement floor where Miller once worked, suggesting the possibility of human remains.  Miller, a Jamaican immigrant who had befriended the child, coincidentally poured a fresh concrete floor days after Patz turned up missing. Authorities said that both new and old information made them circle back to Miller.  The former handyman, who is now 75 years old, was also questioned by police some 33 years ago, but never charged with the crime.  He has since suffered several strokes and now walks with a cane.

After being interviewed several times by police, Miller has retained legal council. According to FBI investigators, the septuagenarian became aroused as he skimmed over a book of children’s images, reports the Daily Mail.

Police decided to conduct a massive excavation of the basement which began last Thursday and ended Monday.  What was unearthed was a possible bloodstain that was cut out of a piece of drywall, a few strands of hair and a piece of paper. No human remains were found.   Police determined via a field test that their finds tested negative for any connection to Patz.  Investigators will test the bits of evidence further at an FBI lab in Virginia.

Etan Patz

Thirty-three years ago, police chose not to search the basement because it would be too expensive a process.

Miller’s ex-wife Phyllis informed the FBI that she left him because he had allegedly raped his 12-year-old niece.  The tip was enough to make  the now ailing senior a possible suspect. Miller’s stepson claims that the ex-wife was just bitter and vindictive, lying about the rape only after she divorced her husband back in 1986.  Miller was never brought up on rape charges.

Miller’s niece, who has remained unidentified, confirmed the ex-wife’s rape accusations last week after being tracked down by the FBI.

Miller’s lawyer, Michael Farkas, maintains that his client is being viciously maligned.  He told the New York Daily News, “I will not comment on what anonymous sources claim without accountability,” 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.”

When Patz disappeared, it was the first time that he was allowed to walk to a bus stop by himself.  His case created a heightened sense of trepidation and anxiety in the hearts of parents throughout the Big Apple of stranger danger.  The disappearance also advocated the missing children’s movement in America.

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