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Retrial set to open in 1979 missing-child case of Etan Patz

NEW YORK – One of the nation’s most influential missing-child cases is about to be laid out for a jury — again.

Opening statements are set for Wednesday in a retrial surrounding the 1979 disappearance of Etan Patz.

Prosecutors say former convenience store clerk Pedro Hernandez hid a brutal secret for more than 30 years before admitting to murder. His lawyers say the Maple Shade, New Jersey, man is mentally ill and falsely confessed.

Etan’s 6-year-old face became one of the first missing children’s portraits that Americans saw on milk cartons. The anniversary of his disappearance became National Missing Children’s Day. His parents helped push for a law that modernized how law enforcement handles missing-child cases.