Posted in Crime, Missing, News

Etan Patz: Investigators have a tough road to conviction

PHOTO: Pedro Hernandez sits during his hospital arraignment, May 25, 2012.As I continue following the case of Etan Patz, I am struck by a few different thoughts.

First, it is amazing to me- assuming this child was disposed of in the manner suspect Pedro Hernandez claims he was- just how easily a life can be seemingly erased.

Just gone.

Hernandez says after luring the child into the basement of the bodega (where he was employed), he simply placed the body in a bag, and left it in the narrow walkway/alley where the trash collectors would have taken it as part of their regular pick up.

In just a short period of time, the child has simply vanished. Now, 33 years later, it is unlikely he will ever be found.

Next, I am struck by the how difficult this case is going to be for the prosecution. What was the motive for committing this crime? Hernandez doesn’t seem to be a pedophile. When asked why he did it, Hernandez had no answer. He says he doesn’t know. He later said that maybe he did it because little Etan reminded him of a nephew he wasn’t fond of.

Others have speculated that Hernandez was mentally ill, as if that explains the lack of motive. If Hernandez was simply crazy, how did he manage to dispose of the boy’s body in such a thorough manner? How did he manage to live a sane life, with a wife and a child, committing no other crimes, victimizing no other children for 33 years?

Then again, perhaps there are other victims, and Hernandez managed to kidnap and dispose of them as effectively as he kidnapped and disposed of Etan.

Personally, I doubt he could have done that over the course of so many years without raising suspicion somewhere along the way.

In a case that has had its share of both suspects and false confessions, a case that is 33 years old, where there is no body, DNA or physical evidence, the lack of motive seems significant.

I wonder how police can be sure they have the right man. Even if they do, I’m not sure they’ll be able to convince a jury to convict him.

Posted in Crime, News

Man claims he killed Etan Patz

EtanIs this the break authorities have been waiting for?

A man in police custody has implicated himself in the murder of New York City youth, Etan Patz.

Patz disappeared in 1979 while on his way to his school bus stop.

He was six years old, and while long considered dead, authorities have yet to locate the boy’s body, or charge anyone with his murder. There have been multiple suspects over the years.

Etan was the first missing child to have his picture featured on milk cartons, and the case has held public attention for decades.

Suspect Pedro Hernandez lived in the same neighborhood as Patz when he went missing. Hernandez confessed to killing a “child” to both a family member and spiritual advisor in recent years, though he did not name the victim. He has since told police the child was Etan, and that after killing him, he placed the boy’s body in a box. When he later returned, the box was gone.

I feel immense sympathy for the parents of this lost child. Every few years another lead or suspect turns up, and they find themselves back in the spotlight. After getting their hopes for closure dashed so many times, I wonder how they manage to hold it together. They are strong people, that is for sure.

My thoughts join with the thoughts of millions, hoping for some resolution at long last.