NEW YORK (AP) -- The murder trial of the man accused in the disappearance of first-grader Etan Patz ended Friday with the jury hopelessly deadlocked after 18 days of deliberations, leaving unresolved a case that has haunted New York City for 36 years.
Jurors said for a third time that they were hopelessly deadlocked in the case against Pedro Hernandez, and the judge declared a mistrial. Hernandez was a teenage stock boy at a Manhattan convenience store when 6-year-old Etan went missing May 25, 1979.
Prosecutors have asked to set a new trial date. Hernandez will remain in jail.
Jurors started deliberating April 15 and announced they were deadlocked twice, on April 29 and on Tuesday. Both times, the judge told them to keep trying to reach a verdict.
Etan was among the first missing children pictured on milk cartons. His parents helped shepherd in an era of law enforcement advances that make it easier to track missing children and communicate between agencies. They were at the White House when Ronald Reagan named May 25 National Missing Children's Day.
While New York City detectives frantically searched for the sandy-haired boy, Hernandez moved back to New Jersey and slipped off the radar. His name appears in police files only once until 2012, when he confessed to choking the boy in the basement of the shop, then putting the body in a bag, putting the bag in a banana box and walking it about two blocks away where he dumped it.
But Etan's body was never found. Nor was any trace of clothing or his belongings.