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Pedro Hernandez Charged in Killing of Etan Patz

Photodisc/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Prosecutors are trying to figure out how they will prosecute the man who confessed to killing six-year old Etan Patz 33 years ago.

Pedro Hernandez, 51, was formally charged in court on Friday after tearfully confessing to police that he killed Etan Patz after luring him away from a bus stop.

Many are questioning whether this confession is authentic since it has been decades since the disappearance occured. ABC News Consultant and former FBI Special Agent, Brad Garret, explained why Hernandez may have come forward now.

"When the District Attorney's office, with the help of the FBI, started actively looking again around locations close to Etan's house and in a basement that they excavated recently looking for human remains, which they didn't find, it brought the case back into the public again.  That sometimes can have an effect, both on offenders and the people around them that may have heard something."

Police started investigating Hernandez after receiving a tip from Jose Lopez, Hernandez’s brother-in-law. According to Lopez, Hernandez told family members that he had “done a bad thing” and “had killed a child in New York.”

ABC Legal Analyst Dan Abrams explained what prosecutors will probably do next, “after this kind of confession, the authorities say a three and a hour tearful confession, does he end up pleading guilty and just say you know what, I want to put this behind me. If he does not, there could be some challenges. The key will be the testimony of relatives, the key will be any objective facts that they have, any corroborating evidence, but that confession is going to be absolutely crucial.”

Hernandez will enter a plea after a pysch evaluation, and has been put on suicide watch.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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