It’s been almost two weeks since, after some initial resistance, schizophrenic 51-year-old New Jersey resident Pedro Hernandez sat down with police investigators and confessed to killing Etan Patz some 30 years ago, later scrawling his confession on a photo of the boy. Yet even after Hernandez was charged with second-degree murder, police waited nearly two weeks to search his home. They first applied for a search warrant on Wednesday. (It was granted immediately.) In the house, detectives found a hard drive and several papers, while up in Hernandez’s attic room they seized a toy car as well as a young boy’s white Fruit of the Loom briefs and blue shorts.
For the moment, police are “very cautious” about linking the garments to Patz — and understandably so, as they might’ve belonged to the house’s previous inhabitants, to any of Hernandez’s nephews, or even to his daughter (now 23.) Meanwhile, Hernandez’s mental state continues to raise questions for the investigation, with his family — many of whom seemed to think he killed Patz — now discounting his confession as troubled and unreliable. No word on whether a psychiatric evaluation has been ordered, but a judge will most likely require it, if only to gauge whether the confession is in fact worth anything to the prosecution.