Just yesterday, police sources were stepping gingerly around murder suspect Pedro Hernandez's mental state — his lawyer claims he's a bipolar schizophrenic — but some detectives are now thinking he may be the real deal after the revelation of new "intimate details" about the 1979 disappearance of 6-year-old Etan Patz. According to a former FBI agent who worked on the case, speaking to the New York Post:
His parents shared with us confidential information that would only have been known by Etan or his sister. I’m hoping [Hernandez] did say something. If he’s got specific details, then you’ve got something to hang your hat on and feel better about.
Meanwhile, sources familiar with the ongoing investigation also told the Post:
Pretty seasoned detectives are confident this is the guy based on information he had. And the circle of people who know is very narrow. They’re not even telling other people in the unit.
These same sources are clearly not in this "very narrow" need-to-know circle — said to include both Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance — but they have a hunch it has something to do with what Patz was wearing at the time of his disappearance or an identifying detail like a telltale scar or birth mark.
Still, many questions remain unanswered. Former Police Commissioner Robert J. McGuire, who headed up the department when Patz first disappeared and strongly defended his detectives' initial investigation, is surprised that Hernandez's name never came up in relation to any other pedophilia or child attack cases.
If you have that uncontrollable urge towards children, you do that more than once in your life. You are not a happily married guy who is a member of a Pentecostal church.
And did Hernandez confess — twice, his family now says — to Patz's killing 30-odd years ago? (A SoHo neighbor of Patz's family says he did, and that police dismissed him at the time as a "raving lunatic.") Commissioner Ray Kelly and his department deny any confession, but also claim Hernandez was never interviewed as a witness or suspect in 1979 or in the years after. An oversight that has the commissioner seeing red. "Kelly is pissed," one inside source tells the Post. "The heat is on."