Police: Man Claims He Strangled Etan Patz, Discarded Body
Pedro Hernandez, 51, told investigators he then wrapped Patz’s body in a bag, placed it in a box and left the box at a location in Manhattan. He said that when he returned several days later, the box was gone.
“An individual now in custody has made statements to [New York Police Department] detectives implicating himself in the disappearance and death of Etan Patz 33 years ago,” Commissioner Raymond Kelly said in a statement Thursday.
Hernandez may be charged as early as today in the kidnapping and murder of Patz, ABC News reported.
Hernandez worked at a bodega in the SoHo neighborhood Patz lived in at the time of the disappearance. He was taken into custody Wednesday from his Maple Shade, N.J., home. According to ABC News, he lives in a rented apartment with his wife and daughter.
He has not previously been named as a suspect.
“The suspect came forward and made a statement implicating himself,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg told ABC News. “I caution you all that there’s a lot more investigating to do.”
The potential lead follows an excavation of a Manhattan basement near the Patz family home last month for evidence in Patz’s disappearance. At the time, police named Othniel Miller as a suspect, ABC News reported. Miller had a workshop in the basement in 1979 and knew Patz. The FBI and NYPD found no obvious human remains.
Patz left his Prince Street home on the morning of May 25, 1979. It was the first time he was allowed to walk to the bus stop, located two blocks away, by himself.
His case brought national attention to the problem of missing children, The New York Times reported.
His parents, Stan and Julie Patz, still live in the same Prince Street apartment.
Reach executive producer Agnus Dei Farrant here.