Etan Patz Suspect Won't Appear in Court Until Fall

By Irene Plagianos on June 20, 2012 5:36pm 

Pedro Hernandez, 67, told authorities on May 23, 2012 that he killed Etan Patz in 1979.
Pedro Hernandez, 67, told authorities on May 23, 2012 that he killed Etan Patz in 1979.
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MANHATTAN — The next hearing for the prime suspect in the disappearance and murder of Etan Patz has been pushed back until fall — the latest turn in the decades old case, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office said.

The next court appearance for Pedro Hernandez was expected on June 25, but the hearing was moved to allow both sides to "proceed with their investigations in a measured and fair manner, " the DA's office said.

Police arrested Hernandez last month, after the 51-year-old confessed to luring Patz from a SoHo school bus stop to the basement of a West Broadway bodega where he worked, strangling the boy and stuffing his body into a bag in 1979.

His wife, Rosemary Hernandez, and his lawyer, Harvey Fishbein, have said Hernandez suffers from delusions. At his arraignment, Fishbein said Hernandez also suffered from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Hernandez's confession and subsequent arrest in the Patz case have raised eyebrows because the boy's body has not been found and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly admitted that investigators did not have any physical evidence to corroborate Hernandez's story, as of last week.

Investigators have been trying to corroborate Hernandez's confession, which came just days before the 33rd anniversary of the disappearance.

Hernandez's psychiatric history will likely be a key factor in the case.

According to published reports, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. has not yet brought the case to a grand jury.

Patz was ordered held without bail and has remained in the psychiatric ward at Bellevue Hospital. Before his arraignment, he had been placed on suicide watch.

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