Pedro Hernandez confessed to murdering Etan Patz yesterday, meaning that after more than three decades, the famous missing persons case may be over.
Hernandez, a former corner store worker, was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder after he6-year-old Patz in 1979.
"He was remorseful, and I think the detectives thought it was a feeling of relief on his part," New York police Commissioner Ray Kelly told the media.
Incredibly, today, May 25 marks the 33rd anniversary of the disappearance of Etan Patz, who became the nation's first "milk carton child."
The case sparked the movement to raise awareness of missing kids.
Etanto a New York bus stop, triggering a massive manhunt, but no sign of the little boy had ever been detected.
The Etan Patz case returned to the headlines last month when authorities , tearing up the basement of a nearby building.
Kelly said a recent tip led investigators to Hernandez, 51, a Maple Shade, N.J., resident with a teenage daughter. The commissioner said:
"In the years following Etan's disappearance, Hernandez had told his family that he had 'done a bad thing' and killed a child in New York."On Wednesday night, Hernandez was questioned in New Jersey and then voluntarily returned with detectives to New York, says Kelly.
"He brought them to the scene of the crime, which is now a store that sells eye glasses," says the commissioner.
"Hernandez described to the detectives how he lured young Etan from the school bus stop at West Broadway and Prince Street with the promise of a soda."
"He then led him into the basement of the (store), choked him there, and disposed of the body by putting it into a plastic bag, and placing it into the trash."
At the time, Hernandez was a 19-year-old stock clerk in the business and lived in an apartment nearby, says Kelly.
Kelly said investigators arrested Hernandez based on "the fact that he had told his story in the past, and the specificity of what he said in the confession."
Hopefully, as horrible as this is, the family can finally have closure.