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Era of missing children on milk cartons recalled

NEW YORK — A renewed investigation into the 1979 disappearance of a New York City boy has recalled the era when printed images of missing children appeared on milk cartons.

Investigators began searching a basement in Manhattan on Thursday for Etan Patz's remains. They plan to dig up a concrete basement and expect the work to take about five days.

Etan's disappearance on May 25, 1979, drew national attention to child safety.

It also ushered in a generation of parents who became afraid to send their kids out alone and helped fuel a movement to publicize missing children's cases.

President Ronald Reagan declared the day of the boy's disappearance National Missing Children's Day.

While Patz's face was among the first to appear on thousands of milk cartons across the country, the practice began with local dairies in the Midwest.