The lawyer of Ethan Patz' confessed killer has asked a judge to drop charges, citing a coerced confession.
Attorney Harvey Fishbein has filed with a judge to drop charges against Pedro Hernandez, who confessed last year to the 1979 murder of 6-year-old Etan Patz. Fishbein argued that the confession was "false" and that investigators lacked enough evidence to pursue a conviction.
Patz disappeared from his Lower Manhattan home on May 25, 1979 and was never seen again. His missing person's case launched a slew of new efforts in the mid-80s to increase tactics for relocating missing children. Patz' photo was also the first to appear on the side of a milk carton.
Investigators renewed the search for Patz last year after receiving a tip that led them to the excavation a basement near Patz' home. No new evidence was discovered, but Hernandez was later taken into custody, at which point he confessed to strangling the 6-year-old boy and dumping his body.
Hernandez is mentally ill and suffers from schizophrenia, according to Fishbein. Hernandez was an 18-year-old store clerk who worked near the area where Patz was last seen.
"No evidence or witnesses have been found corroborating any of the few facts" in Pedro Hernandez' confession, the lawyer wrote in court papers obtained by the Huffington Post.
Investigators were led to Hernandez after a police tip came in stating that Hernandez had admitted to killing a child in New York City years ago. Hernandez later told police that he lured Patz to the convenience store where he worked with the promise of a soda. He then told police that he took Patz to the basement, where he choked him to death.
Fishbein argued that Hernandez was questioned for over six hours before police took down a statement and he was read his rights.