The Manhattan district attorney's office has agreed with the defense to adjourn the prosecution of the accused killer of 6-year-old Etan Patz for another six weeks, giving more time to search for physical evidence to corroborate the confession of Pedro Hernandez.
"The purpose of the adjournment is to allow all parties to continue with their investigations in a measured and fair manner," said a spokeswoman for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance.
Hernandez, 51, a one-time bodega worker from Maple Shade, N.J., who has a history of mental illness, was charged in May with the long-unsolved disappearance of Patz in 1979 after confessing that he snatched the boy off a SoHo street and strangled him in the basement of a grocery store where he was working.
But despite the well-publicized arrest, investigators have yet to disclose any physical evidence to corroborate the confession, and Hernandez has not been indicted.
The adjournment pushes the next court date, and the deadline for grand jury action, back from Oct. 1 to Nov. 15. In addition to allowing for additional investigation, it will give prosecutors additional time to decide if they want to go forward if all they have is the confession.
Hernandez's lawyer, Harvey Fishbein, echoing the words of the prosecution, said the delay would allow "both sides to continue doing their investigation."
Hernandez is being held without bail.