First Missing Boy on Milk Carton:Suspect Finally Arrested for 1979 Murder
On the 33rd anniversary of Etan Patz’s disappearance, 51-year-old suspect Pedro Hernandez has finally been arrested in the boy’s murder.
An amazing break to the cold case came after a tipster called the police department, revealing that Hernandez confessed to killing a boy over 30 years ago.
“I did a bad thing. I killed a kid in New York,” Hernandez told friends and relatives.
When he was 19, Hernandex was working as a stock clerk and lured Etan into the basement of a bodega. Once there, he strangled the boy and disposed of his body in a plastic bag, just a block away from the crime scene.
There is currently no motive or physical evidence, although a written confession was already obtained from the suspect.
“We have a written confession, a signed confession. We believe there is probable cause to go forward with this arrest,” Police commissioner Ray Kelly said. “We can only hope these developments bring a measure of peace to the Patz family.”
When police came to arrest Hernandez, the suspect “wasn’t confrontational at all…. It was a very casual encounter. He was friendly with detectives.”
Etan Patz is considered the most well-known missing child in New York City. He was the first missing child to be featured on the milk cartons; his disappearance sparked the missing children’s movement.
Up until now, his body was never found, but wrongful arrests have been made with absence of any physical evidence. Jose Ramos, one of Etan’s babysitters and known child molester was arrested as a suspect. He was arrested on Etan’s death, but he always claimed innocence. Another suspect, Othniel Miller was also interviewed last month after his ex-wife claimed he raped his niece. The family has supported his innocence claims.
Surprising enough, despite their thoroughness, Hernandez was never questioned with regards to Etan’s murder. “I can’t tell you why. It was 33 years ago, I can’t tell you why,” Kelly said.
Hernandez will be charged today with second degree murder.