NEW YORK (NBC) -- 33 years ago 6-year-old Etan Patz disappeared while walking to his school bus for the first time on his own.
New York City Police say they've finally made a break in the case.
They arrested suspect Pedro Hernandez on Thursday.
According to police Hernandez spoke to detectives for more than three hours and confessed to killing the child.
Investigators say a tip led police to Hernandez' New Jersey home.
"Hernandez had told a family member and others that he had quote 'done a bad thing and killed a child in New York,.'" NYPD police Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters.
In April police spent several days searching a basement along the route the child would have walked to catch his bus.
"I believe it was the focus given this case in April that sort of brought forth the knowledge that this person had about statements that Hernandez had made in the past," Kelly said.
The disappearance of Etan Patz ushered in an era of awareness for missing children across the country.
Pedro Hernandez will face a judge for arraignment on the charges on Wednesday.