... By 6 pm, as if to compensate for the first hour of inactivity, radio patrol cars began to roll up, and through the night some 300 police officers descended on Prince Street. Up and down the block squad cars were left standing in the middle of the street. As the light grew dim, the car doors were propped open and high beams left on to cut through the evening air. Helicopters with floodlights swooped back and forth. Walkie-talkies crackled as false leads and rumors flew…
From her vantage point three flights up and across the street, neighbor Karen Altman watched Etan’s father Stan, as his wiry frame paced the length of sidewalk in front of the building, the floodlights illuminating his thin, now pinched face. Karen could see by the expressions on his face that he was enraged. Not at the cops, not at his wife, but at the gods, she thought. She half expected him to start shaking his fist at the skies.
The gods seemed to be piling on, when shortly before midnight, they began spitting on the searchers in a slow steady, drizzle. By 1:15 a.m., when authorities requested bloodhounds to be brought in from upstate, any traces of Etan - his prints or a scent the dogs could follow - were in the process of being washed away.
“Wouldn’t it be awful,” whispered Karen’s husband Larry from behind her, “if they never found Etan, and they never found out what happened?”
—excerpt from Chapter One