The confession of a New Jersey man in the killing of young Etan Patz in 1979 apparently has the ring of truth to it: NYPD Chief Raymond Kelly announced tonight that Pedro Hernandez has been charged with second-degree murder. Hernandez told police that he lured the 6-year-old into the basement of a bodega where he worked with the promise of a soda, reports the New York Post. There he allegedly choked the boy to death, put his body in a bag, and threw it among trash about a block away.
“We have a written confession, a signed confession,” Kelly said. “We believe there is probable cause to go forward with this arrest." Hernandez, a 19-year-old stock boy at the time Etan disappeared, "was remorseful, and I think the detectives thought that it was a feeling of relief on his part." The break in the case apparently came last month during the fruitless search of a SoHo basement, notes the New York Times. That search yielded no evidence, but one of Hernandez's relatives saw the story and called police with suspicions. Hernandez moved to New Jersey shortly after Etan disappeared and reportedly spoke more than once of killing a child, says the Post. (Read more Etan Patz stories.)