Etan Patz's body hidden in store's fridge before being dumped - New York News

Etan Patz's body hidden in store's fridge before being dumped

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NEW YORK -- The man who confessed to strangling Etan Patz in New York was calculating enough to stash the child's corpse in a basement walk-in refrigerator before tossing it out with the trash. 

Murder suspect Pedro Hernandez, 51, told authorities that after killing the child on May 25, 1979, "he put him in the walk-in box and kept him there until he took him out and put him in the garbage," a law enforcement source told the New York Post

It was unclear how long Hernandez, then 19, kept the boy's body hidden in the basement fridge at his family's SoHo bodega after killing him. 

Etan's body was stuffed in a plastic bag and then put into a box before being stowed in the walk-in, sources said. 

But the grisly package remained there until the coast was clear and Hernandez could sneak it out to the street that night. He told cops he wound up carrying the box to an alley down the block and dumping it in other garbage that was later hauled off by a trash truck. 

The lurid detail came during Hernandez's confession to cops last week in which he admitted to luring the towheaded six-year-old into the bodega with the promise of a cold soda. Etan had been walking to his school bus stop -- just across the street from the bodega -- by himself for the very first time when he was abducted. 

Cops are feverishly poring over old blueprints of the building to see if they include any description of the walk-in. 

A longtime resident said the bodega's owner at the time, identified as Luis, also used the basements of two neighboring businesses for storage and illegal cockfights. 

Hernandez could have brought Etan's body to a refrigerator that was either in a common storage area used by both businesses or in a space directly below the bodega, where the owner's wife cooked. 

Cops want to confirm that Hernandez's descriptions of the basement space where the walk-in was located matches architectural drawings from that time to make sure he is telling the truth. 

They also are reviewing Sanitation Department records to try to confirm other details of his confession and to determine whether it would make sense to search for Etan's remains in a landfill. 

The NYPD plans to scour sanitation, landfill and incinerator log books from that time before determining whether to launch a search for the remains, Sanitation Department spokesman Vito Turso said. 

The grisly developments came as sources told the Post that NYPD brass pressured a reluctant Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. to OK Hernandez's arrest, despite Vance's concerns over a lack of corroborating evidence. 

The DA -- still stung by criticism for busting French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn in a Manhattan sex case, only to later drop the charges because of the alleged victim's lack of credibility -- wanted more proof before charging Hernandez with murder, said several law-enforcement sources. 

An FBI source suggested that Vance's misgivings would explain why he wasn't at the news conference where Police Commissioner Ray Kelly announced Hernandez's arrest, even though Vance had campaigned on reopening the case.

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