The man who confessed to killing six-year-old Etan Patz more than 30 years ago could be indicted for murder this week, despite there being little to no evidence that he killed the boy other than his confession.
A grand jury will meet tomorrow to hear the state’s evidence against Pedro Hernandez, who in May confessed to killing Patz in a SoHo basement. After strangling him, Hernandez told police that he put the boy’s body in a bag and stuck him on the curb to be taken away with the trash. Patz’s body was never found.
Authorities say that in the 1980s, Hernandez — who was 19 when the murder occurred —
confessed to family members and to a religious mentor that he
murdered a child. After the case got new life when authorities tore up a
SoHo basement in April looking for the boy’s remains, one of those
family members told authorities about the confession.
Authorities found nothing when they tore up the basement, which was used at the time of Patz’s disappearance as a workshop
for neighborhood handyman Othneil Miller, 75, who police said was the
new “target” of their investigation. Miller was never charged..
Patz — who was the first missing child to appear on the side of a milk
carton — was last seen on May 25, 1979, as he was walking just two blocks
to a bus stop on his way to school. It was the first time he’d made the trip alone. He was never seen again — and was
declared dead in 2001.
Hernandez’s confession is complicated by
the fact that he might be a little nuts — he suffers audio and visual
hallucinations — and could be making the whole thing up. That’s why
investigators have spent the past several months trying to find
additional evidence against him, but haven’t come up with much. However,
authorities said back in May that Hernandez knew things about the crime
that only the killer would know.
It will be interesting to see what the grand jury decides. Check back tomorrow for updates.