Suspect in Etan Patz moved to another NY jail
NEW YORK — The man accused of murder in the death of a 6-year-old New York City boy who went missing in 1979 has been transferred to a cell at a Manhattan detention center.
Pedro Hernandez was transferred to the Manhattan Detention Complex on July 18, according to the City Department of Correction. He had previously been held at Bellevue Hospital Center’s psychiatric ward, but was moved June 27 to the mental health ward at Rikers Island jail.
Prosecutors said Hernandez, 51, admitted two months ago to killing Etan Patz in a surprise confession in one of the most baffling missing children’s cases nationwide.
Hernandez was a teenage stock clerk at a nearby convenience store when Etan disappeared on his way to school on May 25, 1979, a date that would later be commemorated as National Missing Children’s Day. A judge in 2001 declared him dead, but his body has never been found.
Hernandez said he lured the boy from the bus stop with the promise of a soda, then suffocated him in the basement of the store, according to prosecutors. He left the neighborhood shortly after and was never considered a suspect by police until recently, when a tipster called police to say they believed he was responsible for the boy’s disappearance.
Hernandez is being held without bail. His attorney has said his client was bipolar and schizophrenic and had a history of hallucinations. Hernandez was hospitalized after making comments about wanting to kill himself.
It is common for crime suspects to be transferred to different locations.
His next court date is Oct. 1 as both sides continue to investigate the case.
Police searching Hernandez’s home in Maple Shade, N.J., on June 6 came across at least one piece of children’s clothing that appeared old and were working to determine whether it was relevant to the case, according to a person familiar with it. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details of the ongoing investigation.
The clothing wasn’t among items investigators were initially targeting, the person said. The significance of the items remains to be seen, the person said, and authorities are very cautious about what to expect from the find.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Tuesday the investigation continued and wouldn’t comment on any potential evidence.
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