Skip To Content
Get Our Newsletter

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

N.Y. Man Gets 25 Years To Life For 1979 Murder Of Etan Patz

A former delicatessen worker convicted of killing 6-year-old Etan Patz in a 1979 New York slaying that helped raise national awareness about the plight of abducted children was sentenced on Tuesday to 25 years to life in prison.

Pedro Hernandez, 56, showed no emotion as he was handed the maximum allowed sentence for the murder by Justice Maxwell Wiley in state court in Manhattan.

“Nearly two generations have come and gone since Etan disappeared,” New York City District Attorney Cyrus Vance told a press conference after the sentencing. “But today … justice has been served.”

Hernandez, who a jury found guilty in February, declined to speak at his sentencing.

Patz vanished as he walked alone for the first time to a school bus stop in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood on May 25, 1979. He would become one of the first missing children to appear on the side of a milk carton seeking information.

Stan Patz, Etan’s father, expressed his gratitude after the sentencing. “I don’t think we ever believed that we could come to this point, that we would ever actually find out what happened to our child,” Patz told reporters. “I am enormously grateful.”





Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free under an Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives Creative Commons license as long as you follow our republishing guidelines, which require that you credit Foward and retain our pixel. See our full guidelines for more information.

To republish, copy the HTML, which includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline, and credit to Foward. Have questions? Please email us at

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.