A judge has declined to throw out a murder case against a man charged decades after an infamous 1979 child disappearance in New York City.

 

Pedro Hernandez (WCAU TV)

The ruling came Wednesday in the case against Pedro Hernandez of Maple Shade.

He was charged last year with killing 6-year-old Etan Patz. Etan was last seen walking to his school bus stop in Manhattan.

Etan became one of the first vanished children to be pictured on a milk carton.

Hernandez's attorney asked a judge to dismiss the case. The lawyer, Harvey Fishbein, says Hernandez is mentally ill and his confession to investigators was false.

The Manhattan district attorney's office said there was enough evidence to sustain the charges. Prosecutors say they don't believe Hernandez's confession is the product of mental illness.

 

Etan Patz (Courtesy: WNBC)

Etan vanished on May 25, 1979; the anniversary later was named National Missing Children's Day in his memory. He became one of the first vanished children pictured on a milk carton.

Hernandez, 52, was arrested last May after police got a tip that he'd told people years before that he had killed a child in New York City.

 

Hernandez then told authorities he'd seen Etan at the bus stop, offered the boy a soda to entice him to a corner store where Hernandez worked and choked the boy in the basement. Hernandez said he tossed Etan's book bag behind a basement freezer, put his limp body in a box and left it with some trash about a block away.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)