Child's Clothes, Toy Found in Etan Patz Suspect's Home
Could be first physical evidence backing Pedro Hernandez's confession
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2012 7:56 AM CDT
This May 2012 photo obtained by the Associated Press shows Pedro Hernandez, who has confessed to killing Etan Patz in 1979.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – A search of Pedro Hernandez's home on Wednesday turned up child's clothing and a toy that are both "age appropriate" for Etan Patz, reports the New York Post. Hernandez himself has a son, so the evidence will have to be tested against both his and Etan's DNA, but sources say they appear to be items from the late 1970s. "When they were found, the air was sucked right out of the room, [it was] a very emotional moment," said one.

Until now, no physical evidence has tied Hernandez to Etan's 1979 death. As Hernandez has a history of mental illness, prosecutors want such evidence to bolster the 51-year-old man's confession. The New York Times today reports that in lieu of that, police are reportedly holding onto the next most tangible thing: a photo of Etan that Hernandez looked at while he was being interrogated, and ultimately penned a short confession on. "They had him sign on the photograph, and write, 'I killed him' or 'I strangled him,'" says a source. The Times speculates that prosecutors may believe such "visual evidence might prove compelling to jurors."