Pedro Hernandez, Charged With Murdering Etan Patz, Remains On Suicide Watch
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - The suspect in the killing of Etan Patz remained on suicide watch on Saturday morning.
Pedro Hernandez is charged with second-degree murder in the 33-year-old killing.
Handcuffed, stoic and wearing an orange jumpsuit, Hernandez didn’t say a word as his arraignment for killing six-year-old Patz was beamed over closed-circuit TV from Bellevue Hospital, where he’s on suicide watch and under a psychological exam.
1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reports
“[Hernandez] has a long psychiatric history that includes auditory and visual hallucinations and delusions,” Defense Attorney Harvey Fishbein told CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey.
Fishbein told the court that his client had been diagnosed as schizophrenic, bipolar and had a history of hallucinations, all on a day when it was learned who may have turned Hernandez in.
“[There] are so many cases, and sometimes they’re never solved,” Jose Lopez, Hernandez’s brother-in-law, said.
Lopez denies being the informant, but a source told CBS News this he is the family member who called police a few weeks ago.
Police said tbat Hernandez told a family member — and others — that he had killed a child in New York decades ago. but never mentioned a name. With his brother-in-law now behind bars, Lopez hopes that the parents of Patz aren’t wondering anymore.
The child was walking to a bus stop by himself for the first time when he vanished. As part of his confession, police said that Hernandez took detectives back to the crime scene — now an eyeglass store — and demonstrated how he lured Patz into the basement, choked him and then put the body into a plastic bag. Sources told CBS 2 that the bag was left with the trash.
“Pedro was very quiet,” Rev. George Bowen, his former pastor, said.
The murder case is stunning to Hernandez’s pastor, and sickening to the suspect’s wife and daughter, who left the courthouse without saying a word.
“It is a very emotional time,” Bowen said. “They were devastated, emotionally. They were crying.”
While this development may be stunning to Bowen, it’s not nearly as shocking to Roberto Monticello, who knew Hernandez in 1979. Monticello doesn’t believe that the suspect had any particular issues with children, but he called Hernandez a very angry man.
“I could see this guy really blowing up,” Monticello told 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck. “He had pent-up anger, there’s no two ways about it.”
Monticello also specifically remembers that Hernandez would never look him straight in the eye.
Members of Hernandez’ family were shocked by his confession, his sister Lucy suarez told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin that her brother spoke about the killing in vague terms.
“He didn’t say like ‘I killed somebody’. My conclusion was that it was a hit-and-run or he hit somebody with a bike, nothing like murder,” she said.
To those who have wondered if the police department acted too quickly in making this arrest, the department said that there’s no way it could release the man who had just confessed to killing Patz, and went on to say that it would be very unusual to release anyone who had confessed to a murder.
If Pedro Hernandez did in fact murder Etan Patz, how did he possibly get away with it for all these years? Offer your thoughts in the comments section below…