How Etan Patz's Soda Could Have Led Police to Suspect
He had a dollar to buy drink, and Pedro Hernandez worked at bodega
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted May 25, 2012 7:10 AM CDT
Updated May 25, 2012 7:48 AM CDT
This undated image provided Friday, May 28, 2010 by Stanley K. Patz shows Patz's son Etan who vanished in New York on May 25, 1979.   (AP Photo/Stanley K. Patz)

(Newser) – Exactly 33 years ago today, on another Friday before Memorial Day, 6-year-old Etan Patz convinced his mother to let him walk the block and a half to his school bus stop alone, for the first time. His mother told detectives Etan had a dollar with him so he could buy a soda, and the Daily Beast points out that the bodega next to the bus stop, where Pedro Hernandez was a 19-year-old stock clerk, would have been a logical place for him to stop. The neighborhood was a gritty one at the time, and a longtime resident tells the New York Times the seedy bodega had a "hostile" feeling and was rumored to host cockfights in the basement. So why didn't investigators, knowing Hernandez worked at the store, ever interrogate him? That's the question the Daily Beast raises, though it offers no clear answers.

Hernandez, now 51 and charged with Etan’s murder, says he lured the boy to the store’s basement by promising him a soda, strangled him, and threw his body out with the trash. NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly says Hernandez has not provided a motive, and adds that there is "no reason at this time" to suspect Hernandez sexually abused the boy, NBC New York reports. One law enforcement source says Hernandez had already confessed when Etan first disappeared but investigators wrote him off as a “lunatic,” but Kelly insists that is not true and says police were informed about Hernandez's possible involvement only recently. Hernandez reportedly has gone back to the old bodega building, now an eyeglass store, with detectives—but it will be near-impossible to recover any remains. For that and other reasons, the case is far from solved, a law enforcement official tells the New York Times. Hernandez "is lucid, he’s persuasive. But there is not a lot of corroborating information."

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Showing 3 of 9 comments
Ultraworld
May 26, 2012 5:01 PM CDT
I was living in NYC when this happened. You could not escape this boy's picture for 5yrs. It was a huge story. When I saw this picture again a few weeks ago, it sent chills up my spine. I hope this is for real. I can't imagine the constant horror that family went through. And the damage a false story would bring.
getoffmylawn
May 25, 2012 10:32 AM CDT
Im not buying that this guy did it. Hes looking for attention, and he's now getting it. The NYPD is looking for positive publicity, and they are getting it. Win/Win for everyone.....well, except for Etan and his poor parents, who are probably reliving this nitemare again because of the selfish motives of others. I hope Im wrong, but my gut says no.
cfbailey
May 25, 2012 9:34 AM CDT
yes, never except confessions from lunatics..these crimes are usually committed by sane people?