Just over two years ago, Pedro Hernandez, 53, was arrested and charged with the murder of six-year-old Etan Patz, the little boy who disappeared without a trace from his SoHo, New York City, neighborhood on May 25, 1979 while making the short walk from his parents’ apartment to catch his morning bus to school. Although prosecutors and police never uncovered any physical evidence connecting Hernandez to Patz’s murder, a judge ruled today that Hernandez’s chilling confession detailing the young boy’s murder would be admissible in court, according to a Nov. 24 report from CBS News.
In 2012, Hernandez pleaded not guilty to Patz’s murder. His defense team argued that his confession was a false one and “imaginary.” The Hernandez defense team argued that their client, who had a history of mental illness, didn’t fully comprehend the consequences of his confession or the consequences of waiving his right to silence due to his low IQ. Still, State Supreme Court Justice Maxwell Wiley ruled today that the confession would be admissible at Hernandez’s murder trial.
Hernandez was working as a stock clerk at a convenience store in the neighborhood during the time Patz disappeared. Following his arrest in 2012, Hernandez told investigators with the NYPD that he lured the little boy into his store with the promise of a soda and then choked him to death in the basement of the store. During his videotaped confession, Hernandez described “putting the boy, who was still alive, into a plastic bag, then putting the bag inside a box and dumping it nearby.” Newsday also shared some of the gruesome excerpts from the Hernandez confession:
“I grabbed him by the neck and started choking him,” said Hernandez, speaking in a soft, meek voice and clutching his neck to illustrate. “I was nervous and my legs were shaking. I wanted to let go, and I couldn’t let go. . . . I felt like something took over me.”
He told investigators he kept squeezing until Etan went “limp” and dropped. He claimed the boy was still alive when he wrapped him in a garbage bag, stuffed it in a cardboard “banana box,” lugged it on his shoulder and dumped it in a nearby alley. ~ Newsday
No trace of Etan’s body was ever recovered. His was the first child’s face to ever be featured as missing on a milk carton. May 25, the day Etan disappeared, has now come to be known as National Missing Children’s Day. Hernandez was charged back in 2012 with Patz’s first-degree kidnapping and second-degree murder.