Hard Drives, Bags Removed from Etan Patz Suspect's Home

Police say Pedro Hernandez has confessed to killing Etan Patz in 1979.


9:47 AM EDT, June 7, 2012


NEW YORK -- Authorities removed a computer drive and two satchels, among other items, during the execution of a search warrant at the home of Pedro Hernandez, accused of killing 6-year-old Etan Patz in 1979, the attorney of Hernandez's wife said Thursday.

The search warrant was executed as part of the ongoing investigation into Etan's decades-old disappearance. Hernandez was arrested last month. Police said he confessed to strangling the boy and throwing his body away in a trash bag.

The search began Wednesday afternoon and wrapped up late Wednesday at the couple's New Jersey house, said Robert Gottlieb, who represents Rosemary Hernandez.

He said his client "doesn't know what they were looking for." The satchels contained personal items including paperwork belonging to Rosemary Hernandez, he said.

Gottlieb said his client was home during the search and cooperated fully. "An assistant prosecutor called me before investigators entered the house and asked whether she was willing to be there to offer assistance and she did. She was there in five, 10 minutes."

Rosemary Hernandez feels her husband's confession is unreliable and is coming from a mentally ill man, Gottlieb said.

The suspect, who is being held without bond at New York's Bellevue Hospital, is receiving a medication called olanzapine, according to a source familiar with his medical history. The drug is used to treat symptoms of schizophrenia, according to the National Institutes of Health.

He is scheduled to undergo a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation to determine whether he's competent to stand trial, said his attorney, Harvey Fishbein.

Pedro Hernandez admitted choking the boy after luring him into the basement of a bodega, a small grocery store, on May 25, 1979, police said. Etan's remains have not been found.

His attorney previously told a judge that Hernandez has a history of mental disorders, suffers from hallucinations and is bipolar.

"Mrs. Hernandez has seen her husband's delusions and hallucinations and other mental illnesses for a very long period of time," Gottlieb said.

He would not elaborate on the mental disorders nor would he provide an example of what his client observed.

"She does not believe the confession at all," Gottlieb said.

Gottlieb said he was asked to represent the wife because of her growing frustration over the case and her desire to make sure prosecutors "understand the severity and nature of the mental illnesses."

A spokesman for the district attorney's office had no comment Wednesday.

Pedro Hernandez's next court appearance is scheduled for June 25.