Etan Patz's dad is 'truly relieved' after man is convicted of murdering his son, who vanished in 1979

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A man has been convicted in the 1979 killing of Etan Patz, the New York City boy whose disappearance resulted in a nationwide shift in parenting.

Pedro Hernandez, of Maple Shade, New Jersey, was found guilty Tuesday of strangling the 6-year-old, nearly 38 years after the boy disappeared on his way to the school bus stop.

Tuesday's verdict serves as a modicum of solace for the slain boy's family, who has waited decades to see justice served, Etan's father, Stan Patz, told reporters.

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New York Police Department spokesman Paul Brown holds an original missing poster of Etan Patz during a news conference near a New York City apartment building, where police and FBI agents were searching a basement for clues in the boy's 1979 disappearance, in New York April 19, 2012. The authorities began their search early on Thursday at the SoHo neighborhood building where the 6-year-old boy disappeared, FBI spokesman Peter Donald said. Patz, who was one of the first missing children to appear on a milk carton, was formally declared dead in 2001. His disappearance helped launch a national movement on the issue of missing children. The date May 25 was declared "National Missing Child Day" in his honor. REUTERS/Keith Bedford (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW SOCIETY)
Pedro Hernandez appears in Manhattan Criminal Court in New York November 15, 2012. Hernandez, the man who confessed to the 1979 killing of 6-year-old Etan Patz faces murder and kidnapping charges in Manhattan, in a case that has haunted the city for more than three decades and altered the way the nation responds to missing children. REUTERS/Louis Lanzano/Pool (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW)
Stanley Patz, father of Etan Patz, speaks to the media at the state Supreme Court in the Manhattan borough of New York, May 8, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo
A Jury member is ushered out as she yells out that "Pedro Hernandez is guilty" after the jury addressed the press at the state Supreme Court in the Manhattan borough of New York, May 8, 2015. A judge declared a mistrial on Friday in the trial of Pedro Hernandez, who confessed to killing Etan Patz, the New York City boy whose 1979 disappearance changed the way the U.S. handles reports of missing and abducted children. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Juror #11 Adam Sirois (L) admits that he was the lone hold-out, as members of the jury from the Pedro Hernandez trial speak to the media at the state Supreme Court in the Manhattan borough of New York, May 8, 2015. A judge declared a mistrial on Friday in the trial of Hernandez, who confessed to killing Etan Patz, the New York City boy whose 1979 disappearance changed the way the U.S. handles reports of missing and abducted children. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A "Still Missing" poster of Etan Patz is seen in this undated handout photograph from the New York Police Department that was released April 19, 2012. FBI agents and New York City police officers began searching a basement for clues in the 1979 disappearance of Etan Patz Thursday at the SoHo neighborhood building where the 6-year-old boy disappeared, FBI spokesman Peter Donald said. Patz, who was one of the first missing children to appear on a milk carton, was formally declared dead in 2001. His disappearance helped launch a national movement on the issue of missing children. The date May 25 was declared "National Missing Child Day" in his honor. REUTERS/NYPD/Handout (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
Shira Patz arrives at the Manhattan Supreme Court for the trial of Pedro Hernandez who is charged with the abduction and murder of her brother Etan Patz, in New York May 5, 2015. A New York jury retired for the day without reaching a verdict on Tuesday after telling the judge it was deadlocked in the murder trial of a man accused of killing 6-year-old Etan Patz. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Stanley Patz (R), father of Etan Patz, speaks to the media at the state Supreme Court in the Manhattan borough of New York, May 8, 2015. A judge declared a mistrial on Friday in the trial of Pedro Hernandez, who confessed to killing Etan Patz, the New York City boy whose 1979 disappearance changed the way the U.S. handles reports of missing and abducted children. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Pedro Hernandez appears with his lawyer Harvey Fishbein (unseen) in the Manhattan Criminal Court in New York November 15, 2012. Hernandez, the man who confessed to the 1979 killing of 6-year-old Etan Patz faces murder and kidnapping charges in Manhattan, in a case that has haunted the city for more than three decades and altered the way the nation responds to missing children. REUTERS/Louis Lanzano/Pool (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW)
Julie Patz, mother of Etan Patz, walks from her family home in New York May 30, 2012. A man who police say confessed to strangling Etan Patz was charged with second-degree murder on Friday, 33 years after the 6-year-old boy vanished from his New York neighborhood and soon changed the way the nation responds to missing children. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW)
Rosemary Hernandez (C), wife of Pedro Hernandez, leaves the Manhattan Criminal Court in New York November 15, 2012. Pedro Hernandez, the man who confessed to the 1979 killing of 6-year-old Etan Patz faces murder and kidnapping charges in Manhattan, in a case that has haunted the city for more than three decades and altered the way the nation responds to missing children. REUTERS/Keith Bedford (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW)
Pedro Hernandez is arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court via video link seen here in this courtroom sketch in New York May 25, 2012. Hernandez, was hospitalized early Friday after making comments about wanting to kill himself, worked as a stock boy in a small food store on the Manhattan SoHo street where Etan Patz was last seen on May 25, 1979, was charged with a single count of second-degree murder, according to court records. REUTERS/Shirley Shepherd (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW)
New York Police investigate an alleyway close to where Etan Patz disappeared 33 years ago in New York May 25, 2012. A man who confessed to strangling Patz faced arraignment for murder on Friday, exactly 33 years after the 6-year-old boy vanished from his New York neighborhood and soon changed the way the nation responds to missing children. Police believe Pedro Hernandez had dumped the body of Patz in this alley way, according to local media reports. REUTERS/ Andrew Kelly (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW)
People walk past a street shrine to six-year-old Etan Patz, who disappeared 33 years ago, set in front of the building where suspect Pedro Hernandez confessed to have strangled the boy in New York on May 29, 2012. Hernandez, 51, told police he strangled the boy after luring him 'with the promise of a soda' to the basement of the grocery store where he worked, close to a school bus stop where the child was last seen in 1979. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/GettyImages)
A poster with the writing of accused Pedro Hernandez is pictured in this undated evidence handout photo provided by defense attorney Alice Fontier. Jurors in the New York murder trial of the man who confessed to strangling Etan Patz in 1979 asked on Friday to examine a missing-child poster featuring the 6-year-old boy on which the suspect had written, "I am sorry (and) choke him." REUTERS/Defense attorney Alice Fontier/Handout FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
Rosemary Hernandez (R) is accompanied by her daughter Becky as she return to a court in New York on January 30, 2015 during a trial of her husband Pedro Hernandez who is accused of kidnapping and killing six-year-old Etan Patz in one of America's most famous missing child cases. Hernandez, 53, is accused of luring Etan Patz into the basement of the grocery store where he worked, before killing and dumping his body out with the trash on May 25, 1979. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
A notice to the media from Stan Patz, the father of Etan Patz who disappeared 33 years ago at age six, is posted in front of the building where the Patz family lives, in New York, May 29, 2012. Suspect Pedro Hernandez, 51, told police he strangled the boy after luring him 'with the promise of a soda' to the basement of the grocery store where he worked, close to a school bus stop where the child was last seen in 1979. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/GettyImages)
A street shrine to six-year-old Etan Patz, who disappeared 33 years ago, is set in front of the building where suspect Pedro Hernandez confessed to have strangled the boy in New York on May 29, 2012. Hernandez, 51, told police he strangled the boy after luring him 'with the promise of a soda' to the basement of the grocery store where he worked, close to a school bus stop where the child was last seen in 1979. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/GettyImages)
A man takes a photo of a street shrine to six-year-old Etan Patz, who disappeared 33 years ago, set in front of the building where suspect Pedro Hernandez confessed to have strangled the boy in New York on May 29, 2012. Hernandez, 51, told police he strangled the boy after luring him 'with the promise of a soda' to the basement of the grocery store where he worked, close to a school bus stop where the child was last seen in 1979. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/GettyImages)
A young girl looks at a street shrine to six-year-old Etan Patz who disappeared 33 years ago, set in front of the building where suspect Pedro Hernandez confessed to have strangled the boy in New York on May 29, 2012. Pedro Hernandez, 51, told police he strangled the boy after luring him 'with the promise of a soda' to the basement of the grocery store where he worked, close to a school bus stop where the child was last seen in 1979. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/GettyImages)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 25: Daughter Becky Hernandez (2nd L) and wife Rosemary Hernandez (2nd R), of alleged Etan Patz murderer suspect Pedro Hernandez, walk away from a courthouse with a lawyer and a family friend before Pedro Hernandez's arraignment later in the day on May 25, 2012 in New York City. Patz was a 6-year-old boy when he disappeared on his way to his school bus stop in 1979. It is alleged that Pedro Hernandez used a soda to lure the boy down to a basement of a bodega, then strangled him. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 25: Daughter Becky Hernandez (2nd L) and wife Rosemary Hernandez (3rd L), of alleged Etan Patz murderer suspect Pedro Hernandez, walk away from a courthouse with a lawyer and a family friend before Pedro Hernandez's arraignment later in the day on May 25, 2012 in New York City. Patz was a 6-year-old boy when he disappeared on his way to his school bus stop in 1979. It is alleged that Pedro Hernandez used a soda to lure the boy down to a basement of a bodega, then strangled him. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 25: Wife Rosemary Hernandez (2nd L) and daughter Becky Hernandez (2nd R), of alleged Etan Patz murderer suspect Pedro Hernandez, walk away from a courthouse with a lawyer and a family friend before Pedro Hernandez's arraignment later in the day on May 25, 2012 in New York City. Patz was a 6-year-old boy when he disappeared on his way to his school bus stop in 1979. It is alleged that Pedro Hernandez used a soda to lure the boy down to a basement of a bodega, then strangled him. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 25: Daughter Becky Hernandez (2nd L) and wife Rosemary Hernandez (2nd R), of alleged Etan Patz murderer suspect Pedro Hernandez, walk away from a courthouse with a lawyer and a family friend before Pedro Hernandez's arraignment later in the day on May 25, 2012 in New York City. Patz was a 6-year-old boy when he disappeared on his way to his school bus stop in 1979. It is alleged that Pedro Hernandez used a soda to lure the boy down to a basement of a bodega, then strangled him. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 24: New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly talks to members of the media after a news conference at Police Headquarters May 24, 2012 in in New York City. Kelly announced the arrest of Pedro Hernandez, who police say confessed to the 1979 killing of six-year-old Etan Patz. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 24: New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly holds a news conference at Police Headquarters May 24, 2012 in in New York City. Kelly announced the arrest of Pedro Hernandez, who police say confessed to the 1979 killing of six-year-old Etan Patz. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
The search continues on a rainy Sunday at the site where New York police and FBI agents dig up a basement believed to contain clues to the unsolved disappearance 33 years ago of six-year-old Etan Patz in New York, April 21, 2012. Police shut off two blocks of Prince Street and erected a blue tarpaulin tent over the entrance to the basement where detectives hope finally to break the case of Etan Patz, who became America's most famous missing child when he vanished on his way to school in 1979. AFP PHOTO / Mehdi Taamallah (Photo credit should read MEHDI TAAMALLAH/AFP/Getty Images)
New York police and FBI agents talk at the site where they dig up a basement believed to contain clues to the unsolved disappearance 33 years ago of six-year-old Etan Patz, in New York, April 21, 2012. Police shut off two blocks of Prince Street and erected a blue tarpaulin tent over the entrance to the basement where detectives hope finally to break the case of Etan Patz, who became America's most famous missing child when he vanished on his way to school in 1979. AFP PHOTO / Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
A New York policeman covered in dust, takes a break as New York police and FBI agents dig up a basement believed to contain clues to the unsolved disappearance 33 years ago of six-year-old Etan Patz, in New York, April 21, 2012. Police shut off two blocks of Prince Street and erected a blue tarpaulin tent over the entrance to the basement where detectives hope finally to break the case of Etan Patz, who became America's most famous missing child when he vanished on his way to school in 1979. AFP PHOTO / Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 20: New York City police and F.B.I. investigators remove debris from a crime scene in Soho where investigators searched for evidence of a six year-old boy who has been missing for 33 years on April 20, 2012 in New York City. Investigators from the NYPD and the FBI searched the basement of a building in New York's SoHo neighborhood for evidence of Etan Patz, a six year-old boy who disappeared 33 years ago on May 25, 1979. The neighborhood, once a crime ridden industrial area where bohemian artists lived, has transformed over the years into one of Manhattans most exclusive neighborhoods with luxury retail stores and expensive restaurants. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 20: New York City police and F.B.I. investigators remove debris from a crime scene in Soho where investigators searched for evidence of a six year-old boy who has been missing for 33 years on April 20, 2012 in New York City. Investigators from the NYPD and the FBI searched the basement of a building in New York's SoHo neighborhood for evidence of Etan Patz, a six year-old boy who disappeared 33 years ago on May 25, 1979. The neighborhood, once a crime ridden industrial area where bohemian artists lived, has transformed over the years into one of Manhattans most exclusive neighborhoods with luxury retail stores and expensive restaurants. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Becky Hernandez (L) and Rosemary Hernandez, daughter and wife of Pedro Hernandez respectively, leave Manhattan Criminal Court in New York May 25, 2012. Pedro Hernandez who confessed to strangling Etan Patz faced arraignment for murder on Friday, exactly 33 years after the 6-year-old boy vanished from his New York neighborhood and soon changed the way the nation responds to missing children. REUTERS/Andrew Burton (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW)
A makeshift memorial is placed outside the premises where Etan Patz allegedly disappeared 33 years ago in New York May 25, 2012. A man who confessed to strangling Patz faced arraignment for murder on Friday, exactly 33 years after the 6-year-old boy vanished from his New York neighborhood and soon changed the way the nation responds to missing children. REUTERS/ Andrew Kelly (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW)
FBI agents and New York City police officers stand near a New York City apartment building where they were searching a basement for clues in the 1979 disappearance of Etan Patz, April 19, 2012. The authorities began their search early on Thursday at the SoHo neighborhood building where the 6-year-old boy disappeared, FBI spokesman Peter Donald said. Patz, who was one of the first missing children to appear on a milk carton, was formally declared dead in 2001. His disappearance helped launch a national movement on the issue of missing children. The date May 25 was declared "National Missing Child Day" in his honor. REUTERS/Keith Bedford (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW)
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"The Patz family waited a long time, but finally have some measure of justice for our wonderful little boy Etan," Stan Patz said. "I'm really grateful that this jury finally came back with what I have known a long time, that this man, Pedro Hernandez, is guilty of doing something really terrible so many years ago."

"I am truly relieved and, I'll tell you, it's about time," he continued. "It really is about time."

Prosecutors commended Stan Patz, who never stopped hoping that the killer would one day be found.

Read: Jacob Wetterling's Killer Apologizes to Slain Boy's Parents as He Gets 20 Years for Child Porn

"It's been almost 38 years and you've always been here, and you've always shown so much courage," Chief Assistant District Attorney Karen Friedman Agnifilo told Stan Patz. "DA Vance always says cold cases are not forgotten cases here. We hope this verdict will finally bring you some measure of closure and some justice. And it's been such an honor to get to know you and thank you so much for your courage."

A jury made up of eight men and four women took nine days to reach a verdict, the New York Daily News reported.

The verdict came after a previous trial resulted in a hung jury. A single holdout juror in that trial refused to convict Hernandez following 18 days of deliberations.

Lawyers for Hernandez, whose IQ is just 70, reportedly argued his admissions were the result of a seven-hour police interrogation that was not recorded, and said that the evidence in Etan's murder points to another suspect in the case.

They said Hernandez's mental illness — which they said is similar to schizophrenia — and histories of delusions lead him to falsely believe he was responsible for Etan's killing.

"Pedro Hernandez is an odd, limited and vulnerable man," defense lawyer Harvey Fishbein said in his closing argument, The Associated Press reported. "Pedro Hernandez is an innocent man."

But prosecutors suggested Hernandez faked or exaggerated his symptoms.

Hernandez showed no reaction as jurors delivered their verdict, the AP wrote.

Read: Woman, 48, Arrested In Cold-Case Killing of College Student Butchered to Death in 1989

No one had been tried until Hernandez confessed to choking Etan after luring him into the basement of a SoHo bodega where he worked.

Etan vanished on May 25, 1979, the first day the boy's parents allowed him to walk to the school bus stop, located just two blocks from his family's apartment, by himself.

No trace of Etan has ever been found, and he was declared legally dead in 2001.

Parenting and policy was shaped by Etan's abduction, as his disappearance embodied mothers and fathers' worst fears and helped change the way authorities track kidnappings.

Etan was the one of the first missing children to be pictured on a milk carton, and in 1983, the anniversary of his disappearance was designated National Missing Children's Day in the United States.

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