Former store clerk Pedro Hernandez was sentenced Tuesday to 25 years to life in prison for the murder of 6-year-old Etan Patz, a New York City boy whose disappearance tormented his parents for nearly four decades.
It took two trials to convict Hernandez, 56, who worked at a neighborhood bodega when Patz vanished while walking to his school bus stop. It was the first time his mother and father would let him walk there by himself.
Hernandez’s first trial ended in a hung jury in 2015 after a lone juror refused to convict him. He was found guilty of kidnapping and murder in February.
“You took our precious child and threw him in the garbage. I will never forgive you. God will never forgive you," the boy’s father, Stan Patz, said during the sentencing hearing.
“You are the monsters in your nightmares.”
Hernandez did not look at the parents.
The defense had argued Hernandez was mentally ill and falsely confessed to luring the boy into a shop basement with the promise of a free soda.
The boy’s abduction, one of America's most notorious, had national repercussions, and his image was one of the first to peer out from the side of a milk carton.
His parents never moved from their New York City apartment and never changed their phone number in the hopes their son would somehow make his way back to them.