Is Case Against Alleged Etan Patz Killer As Un-Winnable As It Seems?

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Pedro Hernandez

The Manhattan District Attorney's Office yesterday announced that a grand jury has returned an indictment charging 51-year-old Pedro Hernandez with the 1979 murder of 6-year-old Etan Patz.

Authorities won't say much about the case, but it appears to be based on little more than Hernandez's confession to police, and the testimony of family and clergy members who say Hernandez confessed to them, too.

As far as physical evidence goes, however, there doesn't appear to be much -- if any.

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Etan Patz Disappearance: Pedro Hernandez Charged With Murder

Categories: Etan Patz, Murder
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Pedro Hernandez
The man authorities believe is responsible for the 1979 kidnapping and death of 6-year-old Etan Patz was indicted on murder charges this afternoon -- five months after confessing to killing the boy.

Pedro Hernandez has been charged with two counts of second degree murder and one count of kidnapping for Patz's high-profile disappearance, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office confirms to the Voice.

Hernandez confessed in May to the decades-old murder after Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance's decision to reopen the case uncovered new leads.

One of those leads prompted authorities to tear up a SoHo basement in April looking for the boy's remains.

Authorities found nothing when they tore up the basement, which was used at the time of Patz's disappearance as a workshop for neighborhood handyman Othneil Miller, 75, who police said at the time was the new "target" of their investigation. Miller was never charged and it was determined he had no connection to Patz's disappearance.

But the media attention the case received put Patz's disappearance back in the spotlight, which spawned even more leads for investigators, including the one that led to Hernandez's arrest.

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Pedro Hernandez, Etan Patz Murder Suspect, Could Be Indicted This Week

Categories: Etan Patz
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Pedro Hernandez
The man who confessed to killing six-year-old Etan Patz more than 30 years ago could be indicted for murder this week, despite there being little to no evidence that he killed the boy other than his confession.

A grand jury will meet tomorrow to hear the state's evidence against Pedro Hernandez, who in May confessed to killing Patz in a SoHo basement. After strangling him, Hernandez told police that he put the boy's body in a bag and stuck him on the curb to be taken away with the trash. Patz's body was never found.

Authorities say that in the 1980s, Hernandez -- who was 19 when the murder occurred -- confessed to family members and to a religious mentor that he murdered a child. After the case got new life when authorities tore up a SoHo basement in April looking for the boy's remains, one of those family members told authorities about the confession.

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More Cracks and Confusion in the Etan Patz Suspect's Confession

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A confession is not an end goal so let's not jump to any conclusions yet. Because there's still plenty to discuss in these recent developments in the Etan Patz story.

On Friday, fellow Voice writer Graham Rayman speculated on the aftermath of Pedro Hernandez's confession to killing the young Etan Patz all those years ago in SoHo. The headline wrote, "Etan Patz Arrest: Is It Really an Open and Shut Case?" and referenced the Times writer Jim Dwyer's skepticism toward the suspect who has mysteriously popped up 34 years later.

It looks like FBI agents are asking the same question to themselves as Hernandez's testimony continues to baffle authorities for its lack of consistency and logical nexuses. Now, throw in the headache: according to the Post, Hernandez shared "intimate details" with NYPD officials that apparently tie him to the case. And the cops believe these details are enough to make this an open and shut case.

Let's try to make some sense of this.

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Etan Patz Arrest: Is It Really An Open and Shut Case?

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Is there a problem with the arrest in the Etan Patz case? So wonders New York Times Columnist Jim Dwyer in today's newspaper.

Dwyer suggests that Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg were awfully quick to convict suspect Pedro Hernandez, before the full investigation was done. Quoting law enforcement sources, he points out that there is not much corroborating information beyond Hernandez's statement to police.

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'Stain' Found as the Search for Etan Patz Continues

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This could be a breakthrough. 

According to CNN this morning, FBI officials have discovered a mysterious 'stain' on the concrete wall in the basement of a SoHo apartment. The site - a half-block away from where the young Patz vanished a little over 30 years - once belonged to long-standing suspect, Othniel Miller, and is at the center of the re-invigorated investigation

As of now, it has not been concluded that the stain is actually blood. The 'stain' was spotlighted with the use of the chemical luminol, which can detect blood but is not always spot-on. The part of the wall that contains it, however, has been chain-sawed out and will be sent to a federal laboratory in Virginia, where officials will find out a) if it is blood; and b) who it belongs to.

The clue could be the most significant development in a case that has confused the FBI and the country for more than three decades.

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