Etan Patz Trial: Ex-Wife Of Boy’s Alleged Killer Says He Confessed To 1979 Murder

As the Etan Patz trial continues, the ex-wife of accused killer, Pedro Hernandez, testified Monday that he had clippings from a missing poster of the boy stuffed in a shoebox.

Daisy Rivera stumbled upon the shoebox in the early 1980s while they were in the midst of moving to her parents house. When Rivera saw Patz’s photo, she thought it was a child of Hernandez’s she didn’t know about. She came across the poster clippings years after he told her he’d killed someone in New York, ABC News reports.

“He explained to me that a child had disappeared within the area where he worked at in New York City,” Rivera said. “And I asked him, disappeared how?”

Hernandez said he knew the boy’s family and that’s why he had a clipping of Etan Patz’s missing poster.

Prior to their marriage, it was revealed to Rivera by Hernandez in Spanish that he’d strangled a “gringo muchacho,” meaning “white guy” in English. He said it was someone who’d offended him while working in New York. She further testified that her ex-husband didn’t want to lie to her and sought forgiveness. Hernandez didn’t offer details, Rivera didn’t push for them, and she never contacted police over his apparent confession.

Rivera says she didn’t connect Hernandez’s story to Patz’s photo from the missing poster.

“I never forgot that face,” Rivera said.

Etan Patz was six-years-old and on his way to school when Hernandez was a teenaged stock clerk at a convenience store. The child was last seen only a few blocks from the convenience store on May 25, 1979. It wasn’t until 2012 when Pedro Hernandez was arrested and considered a suspect in the killing of Patz. A relative called police with a tip, which led them to Hernandez. The suspected killer confessed to choking Patz and leaving his body in curbside trash. He retracted his confession and has since pleaded not guilty. Lawyers for Hernandez say his confession is “fiction.”

Hernandez married Rivera when she was 16. She got pregnant and they have two children together — Peter, 31, and Natalie, 30.

Rivera testified that she and Hernandez divorced over 20 years ago and had a “contentious relationship.”

Alice Frontier, Hernandez’s lawyer, doesn’t feel Rivera is credible in the trial because was arrested on a charge of deceiving welfare authorities in a separate case. The incident was “expunged” from her record, Rivera told the court.

It’s unclear if prosecutors have the photo from the shoebox Rivera is talking about.

CBS Local in New York reports that Mark Pike was another witness brought in to testify. He said Hernandez told him that the boy threw a ball at his throat, so he strangled him.

ABC News adds that the Etan Patz trial is expected to last three months.