Jury Selection Begins in Etan Patz Murder Case Retrial

EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/GettyImages(NEW YORK) -- Jury selection has begun for a retrial in one of the most notorious murder cases in New York City: the 1979 disappearance of 6-year-old Etan Patz.

Suspect Pedro Hernandez, 55, was indicted for murder and kidnapping in November 2012. The New Jersey man told police in an hours-long confession that in 1979 he lured Patz into the convenience store where he worked as a teen, promising him a soda before he choked the boy and threw his body in the trash.

The 2015 trial against Hernandez resulted in a mistrial after 18 days of jury deliberations deadlocked three times.

Hernandez's arrest in May of 2012 proved controversial, as the hunt for forensic evidence to back up his admissions of guilt failed to yield any results, and prosecution had to rely on his admissions -- both in the videotaped confession to police and in the past -- and the fact that he was present in the neighborhood when Patz disappeared.

Patz vanished on May 25, 1979 in Soho as he walked to the bus stop alone for the first time. His disappearance sparked the national effort of putting missing kids on milk cartons, and May 25 is now known as National Missing Children's Day, in Patz's honor.

Hernandez was not a suspect in the initial investigation, which hit a wall soon after Patz's disappearance.

The boy's body was never found.

Hernandez’s defense attorney, Harvey Fishbein, and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office declined to comment on an open court case.

Fishbein said in November 2012 that Hernandez suffers from a mental illness and statements to police are not reliable.

In December 2012, Hernandez pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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California anticipates much-needed rain this week after catastrophic wildfires

California anticipates much-needed rain this week after catastrophic wildfiresGoogle Earth(NEW YORK) -- Ravaged by a slew of deadly wildfires in recent days, northern California is set to get a bit of relief this week in the form of rain.

A storm system is expected to move over the Pacific Northwest later this week and the trailing cold front will most likely bring some much-needed rain to northern California between Thursday and Friday, according to ABC meteorologists.

"It will rain a bit but not enough to fully douse the blazes," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Ken Clark said in a statement Tuesday. "The biggest advantage to firefighters will be the increase in humidity and lower temperatures."

Massive wildfires have charred more than 245,000 acres of land statewide in the past week, killing at least 41 people and destroying thousands of homes, according to authorities.

Firefighters were battling about a dozen wildfires as of late Tuesday evening, although most of them were more than halfway contained.

“The weather today will be warm with low humidity, which will continue to challenge firefighters, but only light winds are forecast,” CalFire said in a statement on Tuesday. “A chance of precipitation is expected to arrive later in the week, bringing relief from the dry conditions.”

The northern parts of the Golden State, which has bared the brunt of the fire damage, is forecast to see an influx of cloudy, cooler and wetter weather later in the week, according to AccuWeather.

Spotter from Los Osos was reporting sprinkles from this high level moisture. Dry at lower levels. Rain evaporates. Also called "Virga" #cawx pic.twitter.com/sgxj3bdXZQ

— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) October 18, 2017

However, a return of dry air, heat and areas of gusty winds could once again raise the wildfire danger early next week, meteorologists said.

Separately, a band of moisture, referred to as Atmospheric River by weather experts, is currently stretching between Asia and North America. It’s expected to bring several storm systems into many parts of the Pacific Northwest through the rest of the week.

The first of these storms have already hit the Pacific Northwest with wind gusts of between 40 and 74 mph.

A number of wind warnings and flood watches are in effect in the western and northern parts of the U.S. ahead of the storm.

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