Etan Patz suspect's court date postponed to Oct. 1

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Prosecutors made it clear Wednesday they are still investigating and assessing a case against a man charged in a notorious 1979 child disappearance, agreeing with his lawyer to postpone a court date for three months for both sides to keep gathering information.

Pedro Hernandez had been due in court Monday as doctors evaluate his mental fitness for trial in the murder case surrounding Etan Patz, one of the first missing children whose picture ever appeared on a milk carton. But the Manhattan district attorney's office said Wednesday that both sides had agreed to put off Hernandez's appearance to Oct. 1 "to allow all parties to proceed with their investigations in a measured and fair manner."

Hernandez's lawyer, Harvey Fishbein, declined to comment.

Postponing court dates is far from unusual. But the three-month timeframe appears to allow plenty of time for both sides to see what information might be available to strengthen — or weaken — a court case that arose from a confession from a man who has struggled with mental illness and hallucinations, according to his lawyer and family.

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