Suspect Arrested In 33-Year-Old Etan Patz Case
Pedro Hernandez, 51, of New Jersey, has been arrested for the murder of Etan Patz, 6, who disappeared in 1979 in Manhattan while he was walking along his bus route, New York City Police commissioner Ray Kelly said. Patz's mysteriously unsolved disappearance drew national attention to missing children, and his picture was the first to be featured on a milk carton.
Hernandez, who has reportedly confessed to the 33-year-old crime, was working as a stock clerk at a bodega on 448 West Broadway and Prince St. in Manhattan when he spotted Patz and lured him into the store with the promise of a soda, according to Fox News. Hernandez then allegedly led Patz down into the basement of the bodega, where he choked him and disposed of him by putting Patz's body into a trash bag outside. Kelly said the motive of the murder is still under investigation.
Hernandez, who moved to New Jersey shortly after the boy vanished, was picked up there late Wednesday in Maple Shade and was questioned Thursday at the Manhattan district attorney's office. On Wednesday evening, Hernandez brought investigators to the scene of the crime and told them what happened.
"He was remorseful, and I think the detectives thought that it was a feeling of relief on his part," Kelly said. "We believe that this is the individual responsible for the crime."
News of Hernandez's arrest came one day before the 33-year anniversay of Patz's disappearance — May 25 — a day President Ronald Reagan designated as National Missing Children's Day in 1983.
Ever since their son vanished, Stan and Julie Patz have stayed in the same downtown Manhattan apartment and kept the same phone number in case Etan tried to call. "We can only hope," Kelly said, "that these developments bring some measure of peace to the family."
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