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Man gets 25 years in 1979 case of missing boy Etan Patz

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AP Photo/Louis Lanzano

NEW YORK (AP) — A former store clerk convicted of killing 6-year-old New York boy Etan Patz (AY’-tahn payts) in 1979 has been sentenced to at least 25 years in prison.

Maple Shade, New Jersey, resident Pedro Hernandez’s sentencing Tuesday was the culmination of a long quest to hold someone criminally accountable in one of America’s most influential missing-child cases.

Etan’s disappearance affected police practices, parenting and the nation’s consciousness of missing children. Etan was among the first missing children pictured on milk cartons.

Hernandez was a teenager working at a convenience shop in Etan’s neighborhood when the boy vanished while walking to his school bus stop.

Now 56, Hernandez wasn’t a suspect until police got a tip in 2012. Hernandez then confessed.

His lawyers say he’s mentally ill and his admissions were false.

Etan’s parents say they’ll “never forgive” him.

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