New York

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

  • In this Nov. 15, 2012, file photo, Pedro Hernandez appears in Manhattan criminal court in New York. After a jury deadlocked in 2015, Hernandez, accused of killing 6-year-old Etan Patz in 1979, is going on trial for a second time, 37 years after Etan vanished while heading to his school bus stop. (AP Photo/Louis Lanzano, Pool, File)

    In this Nov. 15, 2012, file photo, Pedro Hernandez appears in Manhattan criminal court in New York. After a jury deadlocked in 2015, Hernandez, accused of killing 6-year-old Etan Patz in 1979, is going on trial for a second time, 37 years after Etan vanished while heading to his school bus stop. (AP Photo/Louis Lanzano, Pool, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • Stan Patz, father of Etan Patz, who went missing in 1979, and Assistant District Attorney Penelope Brady, arrive for the retrial of Pedro Hernandez, in New York, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

    Stan Patz, father of Etan Patz, who went missing in 1979, and Assistant District Attorney Penelope Brady, arrive for the retrial of Pedro Hernandez, in New York, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)  (The Associated Press)

  • Rosemary Hernandez, left, wife of Pedro Hernandez, and his daughter Becky Hernandez , arrive for his retrial, in New York, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016. Opening statements are set for Wednesday in a retrial surrounding on the 1979 disappearance of Etan Patz. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

    Rosemary Hernandez, left, wife of Pedro Hernandez, and his daughter Becky Hernandez , arrive for his retrial, in New York, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016. Opening statements are set for Wednesday in a retrial surrounding on the 1979 disappearance of Etan Patz. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)  (The Associated Press)

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 (AY'-tahn PAYTS').

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.

The 55-year-old Hernandez wasn't a suspect until police got a tip in 2012.