The daughter of a man on trial for murder in the 1979 disappearance of 6-year-old Etan Patz testified Monday about her father’s unusual behavior in an effort to show that his 2012 confession to choking the boy was a delusional talk of a mentally ill man.
Becky Hernandez, 25, said she wasn’t allowed out with friends as a youngster unless she had a written invitation and two weeks’ notice — and her father Pedro held her hand crossing the street until she was 14.
Becky said her father would clean their home profusely and cook dinner starting at 2 a.m. — the same food every night: chicken, rice and beans. He was hours early for everything and would not allow her to be home alone.
He would sleep for hours during the day, saw dark figures and a lady in white and frequently talked to himself. But they didn’t call the doctors.
“We knew he wasn’t well, and we didn’t want to hurt his feelings,” she said. “You know how children sometimes believe in something? That’s the type of response we had. My mom always taught me that what he sees and what he believes is not what we have to see.”
The defendant had no visible reaction as his daughter testified, but he smiled as she walked by during a break.