Pedro Hernandez has made a full confession in regards to the murder of six year old Etan Patz, which occurred in 1979. Mr. Hernandez, 19 at the time of the murder, stated that he put the body in a bag, stuck it in a box and put the box in a freezer at a store that he was employed at. After a few days, Mr. Hernandez removed the body and put it out for trash pickup. The body was taken away by the sanitation department and it could have gone to several different locations, one of them being an incinerator in the Meatpacking district.
The court system will have an upward battle trying to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Hernandez is guilty for several reasons. First, due to the time elapsed since the crime was committed, it will be extremely difficult to find any physical evidence for trial. Second, although Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance is trying to charge Mr. Hernandez with Second-Degree Murder, the attorney for the defense is asserting that Mr. Hernandez is suffering from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and that his signed confession occurred because of these mental illnesses. In addition, there is already a man in jail that was suspected of killing Etan Patz. His name is Jose Ramos; he is already serving a life sentence for sexually abusing an 8 year old and according to civil court records was held responsible for Etan’s death in 2004. The police could find no evidence that he was involved in the little boy’s disappearance and/or death to bring on criminal charges but Mr. Ramos told the detectives that he saw Patz the day that he disappeared.
With no physical or DNA evidence, the only piece of evidence that the prosecution has to rely on is the testimony of Mr. Hernandez himself, who is currently being held in the psychiatric ward of Bellevue Hospital.
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