Today, many parents are so cautious that they won't let their children walk to school anymore. While most of us like to joke about these "helicopter parents" and how they shelter their children, it's easy to forget the real life horror stories behind their fears.
Take the disappearance of Etan Patz for example. The 6-year-old was walking to the bus stop from his family's apartment in New York City on the morning of May 25, 1979 - it was the first time his parents let him make the trip on his own.
Before Etan would reach his bus stop, the young boy disappeared without a trace, launching a mystery that would consume investigators, the Patz family and the country for decades to come.
When Etan didn't come home from school that day his parents called the police. They jumped into action, with more than 100 officers, bloodhound teams and even helicopters looking for the boy.
Unfortunately, bad weather and a lack of leads meant it was impossible to find Etan.
The unusual and frightening case quickly attracted attention across the country, becoming a national obsession as parents across America wondered "what happened to Etan?"
Keep reading to learn the stunning truth behind his disappearance.