Etan Patz Murder Case Plagued by New Questions

Prosecutors Not '100% Sure' They Have Right Man: Report

By Forward Staff

Published February 14, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

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.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.