Pedro Hernandez Charged with the Murder of Etan Patz
05/25/2012 AT 08:20 PM EDT
Pedro Hernandez was charged with murder in the second degree on Friday, according to a press release from the Manhattan District Attorney's office.
"This is the beginning of the legal process, not the end," D.A. Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., says in a statement. "There is much investigative and other work ahead, and it will be conducted in a measured and careful manner. I want to thank our partners in law enforcement, particularly the NYPD and the FBI, for their unparalleled perseverance over the last three decades."
Patz was on his way to school when he was allegedly taken and strangled to death in New York in 1979.
Friday marked the anniversary of President Reagan's naming May 25 – the day Etan vanished – National Missing Children's Day. Etan was the first missing child to appear on a milk carton, and a national campaign was launched.