ProPublica reports on the unusually slow pace of prosecution of Pedro Hernandez, who was charged two years ago in the 1979 murder of Etan Patz, a boy who disappeared from his Manhattan neighborhood. No one expected the case against Hernandez to be quick or easy. Patz had gone missing more than 30 years ago, and his body has never been found. Hernandez's confession, which he has now recanted, is the lone publicly known piece of evidence.
Hernandez is a former bodega clerk who was working near the Patz family apartment on the morning he disappeared, May 25, 1979. Hernandez's lawyer has said his client is mentally ill, and potentially complex psychiatric evidence will be presented at any trial. Still, the slow pace of the proceedings stands out, even among other complicated, high-profile murder cases. The prosecution, for instance, has yet to formally submit the findings of its own psychiatric experts.