Pedro Hernandez charged in murder of Etan Patz

By Daniel S Levine,

Pedro Martinez, the man that New York police had taken into custody this week in connection to the 33-year-old case of the disappearance of Etan Patz, has been charged for murder.

Hernandez, 51, was charged with second degree murder late Friday at 6:26 p.m., reports CNN. He appeared via a video feed before Judge Matthew Sciarrino, who presided over the arraignment. Hernandez, who was living in New Jersey, is currently being held at Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital. A law enforcement source confirmed the CNN that he is under evaluation and on suicide watch.

According to ABC News, police have yet to say what Hernandez’s motive was. In 1979, when 6-year-old Patz disappeared, Hernandez was a teenage clerk at a Manhattan store that was on Patz’s way to his bus stop.

Hernandez confessed to police that he lured the boy into the shop and choked him to death in the basement. He then put the body in a plastic bag, which he then threw into the trash in the neighborhood.

CBS2 reports that Defense Attorney Harvey Fishbein said that Hernandez has a history of psychiatric problems. “[Hernandez] has a long psychiatric history that includes auditory and visual hallucinations and delusions,” he told CBS2. In court, Fishbein said that Hernandez was diagnosed as schizophrenic, bipolar and has a history of hallucinations.

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly also told the media that Hernandez had told relatives over the past 30 years that he had “done a bad thing and killed a child in New York.” Kelly added that is seemed like Hernandez showed “relief” and “remorse” when he confessed, notes ABC News.

Etan disappeared on May 25, 1979. His disappearance brought national media attention to cases of missing children. He was declared dead in 2001 and his case was reopened by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office in 2010.

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