Etan Patz’s mom: ‘I just wish this could be over’

Pueng Vongs
The Lookout
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For the mother of Etan Patz, who has been missing for 33 years, the investigation into her son's disappearance can't end soon enough.

Etan Patz was 6 when he went missing on May 25, 1979, while walking alone to his school bus stop for the first time. His disappearance sparked the movement to put the faces of missing children on milk cartons.

"I wish this could end," Julie Patz told the New York Daily News outside her building in New York Tuesday. "This is taking my freedom away. I just wish this could be over."

[Related: The milk carton kids]

Julie Patz and her husband, Stan, have been publicly silent about 51-year-old Pedro Hernandez's confession that he strangled Etan Patz in a convenience store basement and dumped his body in the trash. She declined to comment on the suspect. "It's an ongoing investigation."

Hernandez, who worked at a convenience store near the Patzes' apartment in SoHo in 1979 was charged with second-degree murder. Police are trying to corroborate Hernandez's story.

[Related: How Etan's disappearance changed a generation]

Hernandez is being held at Bellevue Hospital and is under suicide watch. In a May 25 court appearance, Hernandez's lawyer said his client is mentally ill and has a "history of hallucinations, both visual and auditory."

Announcing the arrest on May 24, New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told reporters that police had received a tip from someone that led them "to identify Hernandez as a person of interest."

"Hernandez had told family members and others that he had quote done a bad thing and killed a child in New York," Kelly said.

Pedro Hernandez's sister Norma said he told relatives and church members in Camden, N.J., in the 1980s that he killed a boy in New York City. She reported it immediately to Camden police and is not sure why no action was taken at the time. The Camden police did not comment on Norma Hernandez's claim.

She also said her brother returned to work at the same convenience store in New York in the 1980s.

Etan Patz's body was never recovered, and despite Pedro Hernandez's confession, investigators say there is little physical evidence to tie him to the crime.

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