N.Y. man guilty of murder in infamous 1979 child disappearance

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By Nate Raymond

<span class="articleLocation”>A New York City jury on Tuesday found a former
delicatessen worker guilty of murdering Etan Patz, a
six-year-old boy whose disappearance in 1979 raised national
awareness of the plight of abducted children and their parents.

The conviction of Pedro Hernandez, 56, came during his
second trial in state court. It followed a 2015 mistrial that
occurred after a single juror refused to go along with 11 other
panelists who were convinced of his guilt.

After the verdict was read in court, Patz’s father, Stan,
shared hugs with prosecutors. Hernandez is scheduled to be
sentenced on Feb. 28.

The boy vanished as he walked alone to a school bus stop in
the city’s SoHo neighborhood on May 25, 1979 and for decades was
one of New York’s most infamous unsolved mysteries.

His picture became one of the first to appear on milk
cartons, which in the 1980s became a popular way to seek leads
about missing children. His disappearance also helped bring
about a national database of such cases.

Hernandez confessed to police in 2012, saying on videotape
that he had lured the child to the basement of the deli where he
worked near the Patz home and strangled him.

He later recanted, and his attorneys argued the confession
was the product of mental illness, including hallucinations, and
coercion by the police.

Patz’s body was never found despite a massive search, and
prosecutors had no physical evidence tying Hernandez to the
disappearance. Instead, they relied largely on Hernandez’s
confession and on statements he had made to others over the
years referring to the kidnapping.

He was initially arrested five years ago, after his
brother-in-law called authorities to report his suspicions.



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