New Jersey man indicted for murder in Etan Patz case

NEW YORK Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:26am IST

TV camera crew film flowers that were placed outside the family home of Etan Patz, who disappeared 33 years ago in New York May 26, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

TV camera crew film flowers that were placed outside the family home of Etan Patz, who disappeared 33 years ago in New York May 26, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Andrew Kelly

Related Topics

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The man who confessed to the 1979 killing of 6-year-old Etan Patz was indicted on Wednesday for the child's kidnapping and murder, according to a court document.

A state grand jury charged Pedro Hernandez, 51, with two counts of second-degree murder and one count of first-degree kidnapping, the indictment said.

Hernandez was expected to be arraigned on Thursday in state Supreme Court, said Erin Duggan, spokeswoman for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.

Patz's disappearance on May 25, 1979, on his first walk alone to the school bus stop, drew national attention. He was one of the first missing children whose face appeared on a milk carton as part of an appeal for information from the public.

Three decades later, Hernandez confessed in May to luring the boy and strangling him. He had worked at a deli near the Patz home in New York's Soho neighborhood in the late 1970s before moving to New Jersey.

"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," Duggan said.

Hernandez's lawyer, Harvey Fishbein, said his client suffers from schizophrenia and his mental illness prompted his statement to police. He said there is no other evidence against his client.

"The statements alleged by the (prosecution) are not supported by any evidence whatsoever despite extraordinary investigative efforts by the police back then and now," Fishbein said in an email statement to Reuters.

His client suffers hallucinations and "has an IQ in the borderline-to-mild mental retardation range," Fishbein said.

The mystery surrounding Patz's decades-long disappearance, which changed the way authorities respond to missing children reports, will not be solved by putting his client on trial, Fishbein said.

"Nothing that occurs in the course of this trial will answer what actually happened to Etan Patz," Fishbein said.

For years, another man, Jose Ramos, a friend of Patz's babysitter, was the prime suspect in the case, although he was never criminally charged. Ramos was found liable for Patz's death in a 2004 civil case.

Ramos, 69, was recently released from a Pennsylvania prison after serving 20 years for molesting children but was immediately rearrested pending other charges.

(Reporting by Karen Freifeld; Writing By Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Paul Thomasch and Bill Trott)

FILED UNDER:
Photo

After wave of QE, onus shifts to leaders to boost economy

DAVOS, Switzerland - Central banks have done their best to rescue the world economy by printing money and politicians must now act fast to enact structural reforms and pro-investment policies to boost growth, central bankers said on Saturday.

Republic Day

Reuters Showcase

RK Laxman Dead

RK Laxman Dead

'Common Man' cartoonist RK Laxman dead at 93  Full Article 

Banking Revolution

Banking Revolution

India turns to corner shops, mobile phones for banking revolution.  Full Article 

Nuclear Group

Nuclear Group

China urges India to take steps to satisfy standards of NSG  Full Article 

Gold Market

Gold Market

Chinese gold demand holds up ahead of holiday, Indian buying weak  Full Article 

India-U.S. Relations

India-U.S. Relations

Column - U.S. and India should join to balance China's rise  Full Article 

Padma Bhushan

Padma Bhushan

India honours Bill Gates with civilian award  Full Article 

Fashionable Modi

Fashionable Modi

When Modi met Obama, his name was all over - his suit  Full Article 

Nuclear Deal

Nuclear Deal

Obama reveals nuclear breakthrough on landmark India trip  Full Article 

Australian Open

Australian Open

Venus fireworks illuminate Australia Day  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage