NEW YORK -- Prosecutors filed second-degree murder charges Friday against a 51-year-old New Jersey man who has confessed to killing Etan Patz, a 6-year-old boy who vanished from his Manhattan neighborhood 33 years ago.
The confessed killer, Pedro Hernandez, was expected to be arraigned Friday night in a Manhattan courtroom. His confession Thursday appeared to finally solve the mystery of Etan's disappearance, which galvanized a national effort to improve methods of tracing missing and abducted children.
Hernandez's motive remains unknown. He told police he lured Etan into the grocery store where he worked on the morning of May 25, 1979, and strangled him. Etan's body never was found. Hernandez says he wrapped it in plastic and threw it into an alley with the trash.
Etan's disappearance 33 years ago launched a nationwide effort to improve methods of finding missing children and ushered in a more cautious style of parenting.