NEW YORK — The wife of the man who confessed to killing 6-year-old Etan Patz in 1979 says he has long been troubled with mental illness, the Daily News reported.
Through her newly hired lawyer, Robert Gottlieb, Rosemary Hernandez said her husband, Pedro Hernandez, has for years "suffered from delusions and other mental illnesses."
Gottlieb was hired last week "to assist her [Rosemary Hernandez] in making sure that the district attorney understands the severity of her husband’s mental illness," he said.
The lawyer also said Hernandez and her family have been cooperating with authorities, but now feel harassed by investigators.
Pedro Hernandez, who is being held in the psychiatric ward at Bellevue Hospital, was charged last week with Patz's murder after he confessed to strangling the boy in Soho on May 25, 1979.
His lawyer, Harvey Fishbein, claims he suffers from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It's likely Hernandez's psychiatric history will come into play in the case as investigators try to corroborate Hernandez's confession, which came just days before the 33rd anniversary of the disappearance.
According to published reports, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. has not yet brought the case to a grand jury.
Last week, Hernandez was ordered held without bail and will undergo a psychiatric evaluation before his next court appearance June 25. He faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted.