News Worms
News Worms

Jury Finds Pedro Hernandez Guilty For Murder Of Etan Patz

A jury has found a man guilty of felony murder and kidnapping in the death of 6-year-old Etan Patz, who became one of the country's most iconic missing children when he disappeared from his SoHo bus stop almost 40 years ago.

The case originally spurred a national hotline for missing children and simplified sharing of information among law enforcement agencies.

The Patz case grabbed national attention when he vanished while walking alone for the first time to a school bus stop in SoHo on May 25, 1979.

Instead, Etan became the face of one of the best-known missing child cases in New York's history.

Hernandez, who once worked in a shop in Etan's neighborhood, had confessed, but his lawyers said his admissions were the false imaginings of a man whose mind blurred the boundary between reality and illusion. The defense also said evidence points to another suspect with a connection to the family.

Jurors delivered their verdict Tuesday.

This was Hernandez's second trial for the Patz murder. Another jury deliberated for 18 days before deadlocking in 2015.

He was "keenly watching and admiring this handsome friendly child", Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi said during summations.

Update, 12:30 p.m.: Pedro Hernandez has been found guilty in Etan Patz's 1979 death, according to reporters inside the courtroom. National Missing Children's Day was established on May 25th, the anniversary of Patz's disappearance. He initially confessed to detectives, but later withdrew his confession. The first trial of Hernandez, 54, of Maple Shade, New Jersey, a clerk at a bodega in the SoHo neighborhood where Etan disappeared, ended with a jury deadlocked 11-1 for conviction in 2015. The final verdict was handed down by a jury around noon on Valentine's Day, nine days after the deliberations began.

One of Hernandez' relatives called police after the case made news headlines in 2012.

Over the years, Hernandez told a friend, his ex-wife and a church group that he had killed a young person in NY by choking and dumping the body, though the details varied, according to trial testimony.

The holdout juror later said that he believed the confession was coerced.

The defense, however, portrayed Ramos as a far more likely suspect - a man with a string of molestation charges unlike Hernandez, a father whose record was clean except for the Patz allegations.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said the jury "affirmed beyond all lasting doubt that Pedro Hernandez kidnapped and killed the missing child" in "one of the city's most famous and formative cases".

"I just couldn't let go", Pedro said in one of the interviews. Hernandez said he then put the boy in a plastic bag, placed the bag into a box and left it by the garbage, saying he believed the child was still alive.


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