Pedro HernandezIt was exactly 33 years ago tomorrow that Etan Patz set off to the school bus stop by himself for the first time. As we well know, he never made it. Instead was likely lured with the promise of a soda and choked to death for no apparent reason by a man. Tonight that man, Pedro Hernandez, 51, of Maple Shade, N.J., has been arrested after all of these years. Finally.
Hernandez confessed yesterday and described what he says happened; he gave no motive. While the lack of physical evidence makes it difficult for police to corroborate his story, they believe he is indeed the killer. Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly told The New York Times:
He was remorseful, and I think the detectives thought that it was a feeling of relief on his part. We believe that this is the individual responsible for the crime.
Hernandez reportedly wasn't a suspect at the time of Patz's disappearance, but after a search of a Manhattan basement last month, his name came into question. Yesterday, he was taken into custody after living a remarkably "quiet life" for all of these years.
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Police say they're proceeding with caution. I hope they can prove that Hernandez is the killer, and that lack of evidence doesn't mar the case. I also pray this isn't just one of those senseless, bizarre confessions non-guilty people make for attention or other sick reasons. While there can be no true closure for a family who loses a child in this manner, they at least deserve to know what happened and to know that someone will be held accountable for taking the life of their beautiful, innocent boy.
While I definitely think that whatever kind of justice comes with a criminal being charged for his heinous acts is welcome, it also enrages me that he gets "relief" from his confession. There will be no relief for Patz's family. Ever. His arrest is a moment many have long awaited, but there's nothing to celebrate.
Do you think Hernandez will end up being convicted in the murder of Etan Patz?
Image via CBS News