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MAN INDICTED IN '79 DEATH

Associated Press

NEW YORK - A man authorities say confessed to the infamous 1979 disappearance of a 6-year-old boy from his New York City neighborhood has been formally charged with murder and kidnapping, a major milestone in a case that has stymied investigators and Etan Patz's devoted family for decades.

The indictment against Pedro Hernandez, 51, of Maple Shade, N.J., was made public Wednesday and sets up a potential showdown at trial over whether prosecutors can convince a jury that his claim that he strangled the boy is credible.

The suspect's attorney has argued that Hernandez is mentally ill and prone to hallucinations, and that his confession can't be trusted.

Prosecutors countered that an exhaustive post-arrest investigation found enough evidence to seek an indictment and proceed to trial.

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