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Etan Patz: Pedro Hernandez found guilty of infamous 1979 murder

NEW YORK – Pedro Hernandez was found guilty by a New York state jury Tuesday for the 1979 kidnapping and murder of 6-year-old Etan Patz, whose disappearance sparked an era of heightened awareness of crimes against children, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said.

Jurors deliberated for nine days before rendering the verdict. Hernandez, a convenience store clerk in 1979, lured Etan into his shop the very first day Etan Patz’s parents allowed him to walk to school alone.

**Embargo: New York, NY** Etan Patz was a 6-year-old child living in Manhattan, New York, New York when he went missing on May 25, 1979. He was declared dead in 2001. A New York state court jury found Pedro Hernandez guilty on Februrary 14, 2017 in the 1979 kidnapping the 6-year-old boy, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office said.

**Embargo: New York, NY**
Etan Patz was a 6-year-old child living in Manhattan, New York, New York when he went missing on May 25, 1979. He was declared dead in 2001. A New York state court jury found Pedro Hernandez guilty on Februrary 14, 2017 in the 1979 kidnapping the 6-year-old boy, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said.

A tip from Hernandez’s brother-in-law led to a 2012 confession from Hernandez, but his lawyers claimed it was a forced confession. At Hernandez’s first trial, the jury deliberated for 18 days before being deadlocked.

Etan’s father was in the courtroom for Tuesday’s verdict in the second trial. “We’re here today with a verdict, finally. I needed to know what happened to my son and this great prosecution team finally proved it. At least I knew back then, regardless of the verdict, at least I knew what happened to him,” Stan Patz said.

New York Police Department's original 1979 missing person poster of Etan Patz. A New York state court jury found Pedro Hernandez guilty on February 14, 2017 in the 1979 kidnapping the 6-year-old boy whose disappearance sparked an era of heightened awareness of crimes against children, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office said.

New York Police Department’s original 1979 missing person poster of Etan Patz. A New York state court jury found Pedro Hernandez guilty on February 14, 2017 in the 1979 kidnapping the 6-year-old boy whose disappearance sparked an era of heightened awareness of crimes against children, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said.

When asked if he had spoken with his wife, Etan’s mother, Stan Patz replied, “Briefly, on the phone. She’s crying.”

Etan’s case became world famous as he was among the first missing children whose face was put on a milk carton; his case was the basis for the novel Still Missing and the subsequent movie Without a Trace.

The Etan Patz case was a big part of the movement by parents to stop letting their children play outside by themselves.