A jury has found a man guilty of felony murder and kidnapping in the death of 6-year-old Etan Patz, who became one of the country's most iconic missing children when he disappeared from his SoHo bus stop almost 40 years ago. "I'm really grateful that this jury finally came back with which I have known for a long time - that this man, Pedro Hernandez, is guilty of doing something really bad so many years ago".
The young boy's body was never found.
"He was remorseful, and I think the detectives thought that it was a feeling of relief on his part", New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly told reporters at the time, according to the New York Times.
A NY state court jury on Tuesday convicted Pedro Hernandez, 56, of felony murder and acquitted of intentional second-degree murder - meaning the jury believed the murder was intentional. It was a retrial for Hernandez, he had confessed, but his lawyers said the admission was the imaginings of a mentally ill man. "He could tell fantasy from reality".
Hernandez showed no reaction as jurors delivered their verdict, the AP wrote. Harvey said evidence in the case points to another suspect.
The anniversary of his disappearance was designated National Missing Children's Day.
And his disappearance helped tilt parenting to more protectiveness in a nation where many families had felt comfortable letting children play and roam alone.
"It's a cautionary tale, a defining moment, a loss of innocence", Asst.
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In a statement, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said the case had "haunted" families across the country for decades. His first trial ended in a mistrial in 2015 after 18 days of deliberations, with one holdout juror unable to agree to find him guilty.
Hernandez has remained in jail since his 2012 arrest.
After a 6 1/2-hour interrogation, Hernandez confessed on videotape to luring the child into the bodega basement with the promise of a soda and strangling him until he went limp. No trace of Etan has ever been found. His ex-wife and a neighbor later said he'd also made similar statements to them. He said he'd wanted to tell someone, "but I didn't know how to do it". He did not give a motive, saying only that "something took over me", but prosecutors believe he tried to sexually assault the 6-year-old. His daughter testified that he talked about seeing visions of angels and demons and once watered a dead tree branch, believing it would grow.
Defense lawyers also pointed to a different man who was long the prime suspect - a convicted Pennsylvania child molester who made incriminating remarks about Etan's case in the 1990s and who had dated a woman acquainted with the Patzes.
Ramos never faced criminal charges and has consistently denied having anything to do with Etan's death.
The verdict was handed down nine days after they began deliberations. They claimed his confession to police were coerced.
"And, ultimately, kind of heartbreaking".