A New Jersey man has admitted to abducting and killing Etan Patz, a 6-year-old New York City boy who went missing on May 25, 1979. Police arrested 51-year-old Pedro Hernandez of New Jersey on a murder charge, the first lead in a case that triggered the American missing's children movement and played a big part in changing the nation’s childhood experience.
Hernandez confessed to abducting Etan Patz while he was walking alone to the school bus stop in the lower Manhattan neighborhood and then choking him to death in a basement. It is pertinent to mention here that some weeks ago, probers excavated a basement somewhere around the area from where Patz went missing on clues suggesting that his remains had been buried underneath the flooring, but no remains were found there.
Pedro Hernandez, a former employee at a convenience store near Patz's home, told police that he lured the little boy to the store by promising him a soda, took him to the basement and then killed him. The killer further told police that he threw the boy’s body in a trash located one block from the store. The dead body was later on picked by some sanitation workers, according to reports.
"He was remorseful, and I think the detectives thought that it was a feeling of relief on his part, we believe that this is the individual responsible for the crime," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly was quoted by TIME as saying.
Meanwhile, body of the child has not been found, and according to Kelly, it is not possible that the remains would ever be discovered.
According to reports, Hernandez was interrogated by investigators for around three hours after arresting him in New Jersey on Wednesday. He confessed to executing the crime and provided police a signed confession. However, the reason of abducting and chocking the boy was not yet clear.
Patz's parents have been unwilling to shift their home or even change their phone number since their son went missing in the hope that their son may try to reach out to them. Today, they still live in the same house.
“When Etan was first missing, the working assumption on the part of the parents was that some forlorn woman had seen this angelic child at a bus stop and had taken him to raise as her own,” said Lenore Skenazy, a New York writer who advocates against fear-based parenting, according to CS Monitor. “It wasn’t until later, when police said that sometimes it’s actually not a woman who captures a child, but a man who intends to … murder them. When that hit the airwaves, it was a match that sparked a fire that’s been raging ever since.”