PHILADELPHIA (CBSNewYork/AP) — The man who was the prime suspect for years in a landmark child disappearance case is about to be released from a Pennsylvania prison where he has spent 20 years for molesting other children.

Six-year-old Etan Patz went missing on his way to school on May 25, 1979. He was never found.

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The Pennsylvania inmate, Jose Ramos, was declared responsible for Etan’s death in a civil court in 2004, but the Manhattan district attorney’s office has said there wasn’t enough evidence to charge him criminally.

He has denied any involvement in Etan’s disappearance.

Earlier this year, a New Jersey man was arrested after police said he confessed to killing Etan.

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Police said Pedro Hernandez told detectives he lured the little boy into a convenience store with the promise of a soda, strangled
him in a basement and left his body in some nearby trash.

Hernandez, now 51, wasn’t eyed as a suspect in Patz’s disappearance until a tipster contacted police in May.

Ramos has been incarcerated at the state prison at Dallas in northeastern Pennsylvania on unrelated child molestation convictions. Prison spokesman Michael Goyne said Tuesday that Ramos is set to be freed on Wednesday.

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