Arrest made in Etan Patz case

New York’s most notorious and chilling mystery has finally been solved.

A former SoHo bodega stock boy has confessed to murdering 6-year-old Etan Patz — and will answer to the crime in court exactly 33 years after the boy disappeared while walking to a school-bus stop.

Pedro Hernandez who was charged with second-degree murder yesterday, told cops he had never seen Etan before that day — but once he spotted him, “I knew he was the one . . . * just felt the urge to kill,” according to a law-enforcement source.

Hernandez, 51, lured the child “with the promise of a soda, and led him to the basement of the bodega, and strangled him there,” said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

Police arrested Pedro Hernandez at his home in Maple Shade, NJ.Hernandez then placed Etan’s body in a bag, took it about a block and a half away and left it “with the trash,” Kelly said.

Hernandez denied sexually abusing the boy, but investigators are skeptical, sources said.

In his written confession, Hernandez stated, “I’m sorry, I shoke [sic] him,” the sources said.

Yesterday’s arrest of the married New Jersey dad — who was 18 when Etan was killed — brought a sense of closure to the boy’s long-suffering parents.

Stan and Julie Patz were out of the city, but cops informed them of the dramatic development. “Mr. Patz was taken aback, a little surprised and overwhelmed,” said Lt. Christopher Zimmerman, head of the NYPD’s Missing Persons Squad.

Hernandez’s name was included in a detective’s report when the case broke, but was not questioned until Wednesday.

The cancer-stricken Hernandez, a churchgoing teetotaler, was identified as a suspect in the past month by a member of his family after news broke that investigators were digging up a former handyman’s basement on Prince Street in late April.*

Many people are already doubting if Hernandez is truly the murderer. I just hope that the Patz family can find some kind of peace.

As I recall, this was the case that started it all with regard to the American public awareness of the plight of missing children. I’m not familiar with forensic psychological research on delayed confessions, but I do know that false confessions have been found to influence other evidence, including eyewitness testimony and fingerprint analysis. I too hope the Patz family can find some comfort in this recent development.

Flipping the channels this morning, I saw that the brother-in-law had tipped off the investigators.

Supposedly Hernandaz has spoken of this in the past, not naming Etan.

I hope that the family will have justice finally for their child.

Praying that Little Etan rests in peace.

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