GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – A self-confessed suspect in a 33-year-old child disappearance case, which had provoked nationwide attention, is expected to appear in court accused of second-degree murder, Friday 25 May in New York.
Pedro Hernandez, was arrested Thursday 24 May, and admitted to killing 6-year-old Etan Patz, after a relative’s memories were revived when the case received renewed attention recently with the excavation of a basement in the boy’s neighborhood.
The disappearance of the young Manhattan resident as he walked on his own for the first time to take the bus to school, captivated American parents at the time, as it was widely felt that children’s freedom had been lost. A national campaign for missing children began soon after with image of the disappeared displayed on milk cartons.
Following the arrest, New York Police Commisioner Raymond Kelley explained that Hernandez, who was 18 at the time, had lured the boy from the bus stop “with the promise of soda”. He then took him to the basement of a grocery store, strangled him there and “disposed of the body by putting it in a plastic bag and placing it in the trash”.
Hernandez’s neighbors in the nearby town of Maple Shade, New Jersey, where he moved about three years ago, say the suspect, had lived a rather non-descript life there with his wife and teenaged daughter.
Hernandez’s court appearance takes place 33 years to the day after the disappearance.