Guilty Verdict Long Overdue in Etan Patz Murder

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A Manhattan jury deliberated nine days before it rendered a guilty verdict in the 40-year-old kidnapping and murder of eight-year-old Etan Patz who disappeared in 1979 as he walked to school in New York City.

Pedro Hernandez, always considered the prime suspect, was initially tried in 2016 in a trial that ended with the juries who deliberated 18 days remained deadlocked. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance had stated then he would retry the case.

The case had long been considered active but cold until one day the New York Police Department received a phone call. It was the break in the case they had always believed would come.

The caller, who has yet to be identified indicated, Pedro Hernandez, 54, a married man, living a quiet life in New Jersey confessed to the murder.

Manhattan District Attorney Plans Second Etan Patz Trial

Since the verdict, the Defense Attorney Harvey Fishbein indicated Hernandez would have confessed to anything after the intense interrogation. Hernandez mental capacity has been assessed and while a judge ruled he was mentally capable of standing trial his IQ falls beneath the average mark and “borderline-to -mild mental retardation.”

“There is a very good chance there will be a third trial,” he said to CNN affiliate WABC.

Hernandez offered police information only the killer could know. He detailed how he lured the young child into the basement of the bodega in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village and attacked him.

Patz, Hernandez confessed was lured into the basement of the bodega with the offer of soda. Hernandez has said he strangled the body until "he went limp" and stuffed him in a "banana box." He indicated he carried the child out of the store and tossed him in an alley.

Mistrial Declared in Etan Patz Child Murder Case - Legal Commentary by Boston Attorney Hank Brennan

The effort to find the boy who vanished in broad daylight birthed the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Etan’s picture was posted on Milk Cartons, a first for missing children. Detectives, advocates, lawyers and concerned citizens all worked tirelessly for years trying to find new and innovative ways to get Etan’s story and picture out to the population.

The body of Etan Patz has never been found.

It has been five years since that first phone call that led detectives to interrogate Hernandez and forty years for the Patz's Family who receive a little justice much too late. 


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