Painting a picture of a crime that shattered a bygone era's sense of safety, prosecutors on Wednesday opened the retrial of one of the nation's most influential missing-child cases, the 1979 disappearance of Etan Patz.
"It's a cautionary tale, a defining moment, a loss of innocence in this city and every other city where it was talked and written about," Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi said as opening statements began. "It is Etan who will forever symbolize the loss of that innocence."
Suspect Pedro Hernandez sat impassively as his retrial opened in a case that eluded investigators for decades, ratcheted up Americans' consciousness of missing children and now centers on whether a chilling confession was true. A jury deadlocked last year.
With Etan's father and Hernandez's wife and daughter looking on, the trial began as an echo of the haunting story that unfolded over four months last year — so haunting that many of the jurors and alternates from the last trial were in the audience Wednesday to watch.
Jurors Speak on 'Second Chance' for Conviction in Etan Patz Murder Trial (VIDEO AT LINK ABOVE)