After nearly 40 years, Etan Patz, who was kidnapped & murdered back in 1979, has finally received justice! Pedro Hernandez was officially declared guilty of killing the 6-year-old boy, with the jury declaring a verdict on Feb. 14. Even crazier, Pedro actually confessed to the murder — revealing terrifying details!
Pedro Hernandez was officially declared guilty on Feb. 14 of killing Etan Patz, the 6-year-old boy who disappeared from his Soho neighborhood back in 1979. The final verdict was handed down by a jury around noon on Valentine’s Day, nine days after the deliberations began. Pedro ended up being convicted of felony murder and was acquitted of second-degree murder by the jury, which most likely suggests they believe he did not mean to kill the child. And as creepy as it sounds, the convicted killer reportedly didn’t show ANY signs of emotion as the jury read their verdict, according to USA Today.
JUST IN: Jury finds Pedro Hernandez guilty in kidnapping and death of Etan Patz in 1979. pic.twitter.com/3iOjOxGvga
— ABC News (@ABC) February 14, 2017
Pedro was a former stock clerk in a Manhattan bodega at the time of Etan’s disappearance, and during the trial he confessed to luring Etan into the store’s basement and attacking him. He even confessed to choking the boy to death, however, his attorney Harvey Fishbein argued that he is mentally ill and made up the confession. Harvey said evidence in the case points to another suspect.
Confessing to the murder and kidnapping of Etan in 2012 after the case made national news again when federal agents dug up a New York City basement looking for Etan’s remains, Pedro was put on trial. However, the case ended in a hung jury after all but one member voted to convict him after 18 days of deliberations. But over the years, Pedro told a friend, his ex-wife, and a church group that he had killed a young person in New York by choking and dumping the body — details did vary though, according to trial testimony.
In the various interviews that were recorded on video for his most recent trial, Pedro described encountering a boy on the sidewalk outside the bodega where he worked. He said he asked him if he wanted a soda and then revealed he led him down the steps into the basement. It was there he started choking the boy. He said he put the child into a plastic bag and the bag into a box, which he left with garbage nearby. But, he said, he believed the child was still alive.
“I just couldn’t let go,” Pedro said in one of the interviews. “I felt like something just took over me.” In addition to his confession, he also signed one of the “missing” posters, confirming for investigators that Etan was in fact the boy he attacked. He did not however offer a motive, claiming he had not sexually abused Etan or any other child.
Little Etan became the country’s most visible symbol for missing children after he mysteriously disappeared on his way to a school bus stop in May 1979. His tragic case ended up shaping both parenting and law enforcement practices nationwide. It was the first grader’s first time walking to school alone and his face was one of the first to be featured on milk cartons. Sadly, his body was never found.
The case shook New York City like no other disappearing child’s case at the time. In fact, photos of Etan were printed on “missing” posters that were plastered around the city and put on the front pages of newspapers, on television newscasts, and even milk cartons. The alarm caused by his disappearance was felt around the country, thus helping to change the way the authorities track child abductions.
Tell us, HollywoodLifers — are you surprised it took this long to find someone guilty of Etan’s murder?