Man convicted of murder almost four decades after NY boy's disappearance

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Hernandez, a 56-year-old former store clerk being retried for the crime after his first trial in 2015 ended with a deadlocked jury, "staked out" Etan for several days before strangling the boy to death, prosecutors said. Even crazier, Pedro actually confessed to the murder - revealing terrifying details!

The verdict on Tuesday came on the ninth day of deliberations after a three-month retrial. Today, a jury affirmed beyond all lasting doubt that Pedro Hernandez kidnapped and killed the missing child in Soho, New York, on May 25, 1979. His lawyers insisted it was a forced confession from a mentally ill man.

"In the end, we don't believe this will resolve the story of what happened to Etan back in 1979", lawyer Harvey Fishbein said.

Confessing to the murder and kidnapping of Etan in 2012 after the case made national news again when federal agents dug up a New York City basement looking for Etan's remains, Pedro was put on trial. A single holdout juror in that trial refused to convict Hernandez following 18 days of deliberations.

Over the years, Hernandez told a friend, his ex-wife and a church group that he had killed a young person in NY by choking and dumping the body, though the details varied, according to trial testimony.

In the various interviews that were recorded on video for his most recent trial, Pedro described encountering a boy on the sidewalk outside the bodega where he worked. It was there he started the choking the boy. There, he killed Etan in the store's basement, put his body in a trash bag and a box, which he dumped in an alley.

He added: "I am truly relieved, and I'll tell you, it's about time". "I wanted to just let him go but there was something that took over in me, and I squeezed him more and more". "I felt so sorry".

He also signed one of the "missing" posters, confirming for investigators that Etan was the boy he attacked.

He did not offer a motive, claiming he had not sexually abused Etan or any other child.

Etan Patz had vanished while walking to a school bus stop on his own for the first time in the Soho neighbourhood of lower Manhattan on 25 May 1979. The case attracted nationwide attention.

Etan became one of the first missing children pictured on USA milk cartons, and the anniversary of his disappearance has been designated National Missing Children's Day.

Prosecutors commended Stan Patz, who never stopped hoping that the killer would one day be found.

Hernandez's defense had long maintained his client had nothing to do with Etan's disappearance and that his statements to police were not believable.

She told jurors that Etan's disappearance "represented a loss of innocence for this city and this country" and made the public "sadder, more cynical".