Skip To Content
We’ve Taken Down the Forward Paywall: An Open Letter to Our ReadersRead Now
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, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

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