Former bodega worker Pedro Hernandez’s arrest prompted a flurry of new activity in the Etan Patz case last year but prosecutors are now back to square one.
Pedro Hernandez was arrested in 2012 after police heard that he confessed to doing something bad to Etan Patz. He quickly confessed to the child’s murder once in custody. Now his lawyer argues that the confession not only contains questionable claims, but was the result of more than seven hours of grilling by police of his mentally unstable client.
Etan Patz disappeared in 1979 and has never been seen since. Almost to the day 33 years later NYPD arrested Pedro Hernandez in connection to the kidnapping. Hernandez had never been seen publicly since the arrest. Until yesterday.
Some people never learn. Jose Antonio Ramos, the first suspect in the case of missing boy Etan Patz, just completed a sentence of 20 years in a Pennsylvania prison for molesting children, and was immediately rearrested after police determined that he gave them inaccurate address information.
After nearly 25 years in prison Jose Antonio Ramos, the former prime suspect in the Etan Patz case, who was convicted on unrelated charges of child molestation in Pennsylvania, is set to go free. Meanwhile prosecutors in New York have not indicated publicly if they have enough evidence to pursue a murder conviction against suspect Pedro Hernandez.
Late last month, Pedro Hernandez – the confessed killer of 6-year-old Etan Patz back in 1979 – was moved to Riker’s Island from his bed in Bellevue Hospital’s psychiatric ward. But that doesn’t mean Hernandez is in a right state-of-mind, and it certainly doesn’t make this an open-and-shut case for prosecutors.
Police returned to continue the search at the site of the market where Pedro Hernandez claims to have killed Etan Patz. No announcements have been made.
Pedro Hernandez’s confession to the murder of Etan Patz is only the beginning of what is sure to be an arduous legal process.
May 25 is National Missing Children’s Day, in memory of Etan Patz’s birthday. Patz was abducted in 1979, and was the first missing child whose photo was circulated on a milk carton. The disappearance of Etan Patz, 6, which may now be solved, became one of the most famous missing child cases of the 20th century.
The arrest of Pedro Hernandez and his subsequent confession announced on Thursday may mark the beginning of the end of the mystery that surrounds the 1979 disappearance of 6-year-old Etan Patz.