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Its been thirty-three years since 6-year-old Etan Patz went missing, and it’s taken 33 years to find the man who took away his life. The case of Patz, who is known for sparking the missing children’s movement and known as the first missing child to be put on the face of the milk carton, might finally have come to a close and justice might finally be served.
Pedro Hernandez, 51, a resident of New Jersey, was arrested on Thursday after confessing to choking a 6-year-old boy in New York City back in 1979. According to police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, Etan Patz was last seen walking to school in his lower Manhattan neighborhood. At the time, Hernandez was 18 years old and worked at a local convenience store close to Patz’s home. The day he disappeared was the first day that Etan’s parents let him walk to school by himself.
Hernandez described in graphic detail what he did to the innocent and naïve Patz. Kelly said, “Hernandez told police he lured the boy to the convenience store with the promise of a soda, then took him into the basement and choked him.” Detectives then said that, “Hernandez admitted to luring the boy into the store, strangling him, and placing the body in a box. He said he put the box out with the trash and when he came back later, it was gone.”
Detectives do have cause for concern, though. The media attention this story has gotten has led to many false leads over the years around the anniversary of Patz’s disappearance, May 25. The day became known as National Missing Children’s Day.
But for those who have heard Hernandez’s confession, many are convinced they have finally found the right guy. “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.”
Considering how much time has passed and the way Hernandez described the disposal of the body, detectives believe it is extremely unlikely they will ever recover Patz’s body.
According to the New Jersey Real-Time News, “the confession still left many questions unanswered. Hernandez did not explain why he killed the boy during a three-and-a-half hour interview with police on Wednesday.”
Etan Patz’s family has not made a statement at this time.
Kelly states that the case will now be turned over to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. They will continue to investigate Hernandez as he faces the murder charge of Etan Patz, the tragedy that captured the hearts of millions across the nation and has gone down in history as one of the most famous missing persons cases in America.