New York News
Pedro Hernandez indicted in Etan Patz case
NEW YORK (WABC) -- A Grand Jury in Manhattan has indicted the man accused in the infamous 1979 disappearance of 6-year-old Etan Patz.
Pedro Hernandez is facing charges including 2nd degree murder and kidnapping. Hernandez is due in court on Thursday.
"This indictment is the outcome of a lengthy and deliberative process, involving months of factual investigation and legal analysis," said Erin Duggan, spokesman for Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance. "We believe the evidence that Mr. Hernandez killed Etan Patz to be credible and persuasive, and that his statements are not the product of any mental illness. The grand jury has found sufficient evidence to charge the defendant and this is a case that we believe should be presented to a jury at trial."
Hernandez, now 51, was in his teens and working as a stock clerk in a convenience store where, he later told police, he lured Patz with the promise of a soda before he choked the boy and threw his body in the trash.
Harvey Fishbein, the attorney for Hernandez, said his client is a schizophrenic whose statements to police are not reliable.
"The statements alleged by the People are not supported by any evidence whatsoever despite extraordinary investigative efforts by the police back then and now," he said.
In May, New York City Detectives arrested Hernandez and announced at a press conference that he had implicated himself in the Patz disappearance.
Subsequently a hunt for forensic evidence to back up those admissions of guilt was pressed. By all reliable accounts, sources tell ABC, little in the way of new evidence has arisen. As a result, a key factor in any prosecution will be Hernandez current and historical admissions of guilt, and the fact that he was present in the neighborhood where Patz disappeared May 24th 1979.
Etan's disappearance led to an intensive search and spawned a movement to publicize cases of missing children. His photo was among the first put on milk cartons, and his case turned May 25 into National Missing Children's Day.
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