Can New York City Police Prove That Suspect Killed Etan Patz in 1979?


The New York Times calls the challenge to prove that Pedro Hernandez killed Etan Patz, 6, 33 years ago, “a worst-case scenario of corroboration, starting with the body.” Police say Hernandez confessed to strangling Etan in the basement of the bodega where he worked and dumping the body in a bag with the garbage on the street.

“Time is an enemy here,” said Vernon Geberth, a retired New York City police lieutenant commander, who was struck by the absence of corroborating details in news accounts of the confession. “Do they have something they're not telling us?” he said. One detective said he would have revisited the scene with the suspect as it was in 1979, in a room with photographs from that time. “I would take the photographs and say, 'Point to where you met him. Point to where he was,' ” the detective said. “I'd have him put an 'X' on it with a Magic Marker and sign it.” Why? “Great evidence in court,” he said

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