Manhattan prosecutors are reportedly worried about the weakness of their case against the South Jersey man accused of the notorious 1979 kidnapping and murder of Etan Patz in SoHo.
Pedro Hernandez, 52, of Camden, N.J. confessed to the notorious slaying, but there is no physical evidence tying him to the Jewish boy’s killing and he now insists he is innocent.
“When you’re involved in a homicide investigation, you have to be 100% sure that this is your guy,” one insider told the New York Post. “That’s not the case here. There is doubt.”
The Manhattan DA’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Erin Duggan Kramer denied the claim.
“The anonymous assertions relative to the prosecution of this case in the article are false,” Duggan said.
Convicted pedophile Jose Ramos was found responsible for the six-year-old boy’s death in a 2004 civil case and ordered to pay $2 million to his family. He dated Patz’s babysitter and admitted having contact with the boy, although he denied killing him.
“They [prosecutors] are very concerned about the Ramos factor,” one source close to the case told the paper. “They know that Hernandez’s lawyer is going to bring up the fact that Ramos was already found liable for the kid’s death.”
Hernandez was a former bodega clerk from Patz’s SoHo neighborhood who lived for years in Camden, N.J., with his wife and daughter.
Hernandez came forward in 2012 and told police that he lured the innocent little boy into a basement by offering a soda, the paper said. Then 19, he strangled him and stuffed him in a bag.
The suspect said he didn’t know why he killed the boy. Hernandez denied sexually abusing the boy, but police are skeptical of that claim.
In his written confession, Hernandez stated, “I’m sorry, I shoke [sic] him,” the sources told the Post.
Hernandez was indicted on kidnapping and murder charges and is awaiting trial.
Patz never made it to his school bus stop on March 25, 1979, the first time he had walked to the bus stop by himself. His mother did not realize that he had not been in school all day until he failed to return home at the end of the school day.
The case was eerily similar to that of little Leiby Kletzky, the Orthodox boy who was abducted and killed in 2011 as he walked home alone from day camp in Brooklyn for the first time.