Doctors assess mental state of Patz suspect
NEW YORK (AP) - May 30, 2012 (WPVI) -- Court-appointed doctors are assessing the mental state of the man who made a surprise confession in the 1979 disappearance of Etan Patz.
It's unclear so far how much Pedro Hernandez's psychiatric history could factor into the 33-year-old murder case. He remains in a psychiatric hospital, and authorities are awaiting the results of an examination to see whether he's mentally fit for trial.
His lawyer says the 51-year-old New Jersey man is schizophrenic and bipolar and has a history of hallucinations.
If Hernandez's mental health becomes an issue, he'll encounter a justice system that seeks to strike a balance between recognizing psychiatric illness and holding people responsible for their actions.
Meanwhile, Etan's father said in a note Tuesday that the family wants to be left alone.
new york, new york city, child death, missing children, national/world
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