Homicide

As trial nears in Etan Patz's '79 disappearance, impact echoes for missing-child advocates

  • FILE - This May 28, 2012, file photo shows a newspaper with a photograph of Etan Patz that is part of a makeshift memorial in the SoHo neighborhood of New York. Jury selection is set to start Monday, Jan. 5, 2015, in Hernandez’s murder trial. As the murder case surrounding Patz' notorious 1979 disappearance heads to trial, missing-children’s advocates see it as proof that such cases still can be pursued after decades. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

    FILE - This May 28, 2012, file photo shows a newspaper with a photograph of Etan Patz that is part of a makeshift memorial in the SoHo neighborhood of New York. Jury selection is set to start Monday, Jan. 5, 2015, in Hernandez’s murder trial. As the murder case surrounding Patz' notorious 1979 disappearance heads to trial, missing-children’s advocates see it as proof that such cases still can be pursued after decades. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE- In this Nov. 15, 2012 file photo, Pedro Hernandez appears in Manhattan criminal court in New York. Jury selection is set to start Monday, Jan. 5, 2015, in Hernandez’s murder trial. He has pleaded not guilty to killing 6-year-old Etan Patz who vanished in 1979 while walking to his school bus stop. As the murder case surrounding Patz' disappearance heads to trial 35 years later, missing-children’s advocates see it as proof that such cases still can be pursued after decades. (AP Photo/Louis Lanzano, Pool, File)

    FILE- In this Nov. 15, 2012 file photo, Pedro Hernandez appears in Manhattan criminal court in New York. Jury selection is set to start Monday, Jan. 5, 2015, in Hernandez’s murder trial. He has pleaded not guilty to killing 6-year-old Etan Patz who vanished in 1979 while walking to his school bus stop. As the murder case surrounding Patz' disappearance heads to trial 35 years later, missing-children’s advocates see it as proof that such cases still can be pursued after decades. (AP Photo/Louis Lanzano, Pool, File)  (The Associated Press)

As the murder case stemming from a New York child's 1979 disappearance heads to trial, missing-children's advocates see it as proof that such cases still can be pursued after decades.

Jury selection is scheduled to start Monday in Pedro Hernandez's trial. He has pleaded not guilty to killing 6-year-old Etan Patz (AY'-tahn PAYTS).

Etan vanished while walking to his school bus stop. His disappearance animated a national push to find lost children and a cultural shift toward hypervigilant parenting.

Advocates say the trial sends an encouraging message to the families of other missing children, if also a reminder that many cases have gone unsolved.

Parenting experts wonder whether retelling Etan's haunting story will kindle anxiety for moms and dads who grew up in the shadow of his disappearance.