Residents in SoHo neighborhood where Etan Patz vanished react to guilty verdict in murder trial

Posted at 8:07 PM, Feb 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-14 20:07:24-05

MANHATTAN — Nearly 40 years after young Etan Patz's disappearance from his SoHo neighborhood, residents are speaking out about the guilty verdict handed down to suspect Pedro Hernandez Tuesday.

"I'm not convinced."

This was George Rosenfeld's sentiments to the verdict — a ruling that has eluded law enforcement and parents of Etan Patz for decades.

Nancy Rosenfeld along with George are one of the rare couples who have spent about nearly as much time the neighborhood as the Patz family. In fact, they vividly remember Etan's disappearance, "It's a heartbreaking story because we're in the neighborhood when... Etan he was a year younger than my son at that time and for years we have seen the grief that the family has experienced."

Being so close to one of the nation's most famous kidnappings cases had an impact on parenting says George, "Our children survived and Etan didn't. It's always in my mind. But, I will tell you this, I used to walk my son to school, not far from here, because of Etan, one day my son said 'When can I cross Houston street on my own?' and I said, 'never.'"

There were flowers with a a note reading "justice served" left by a juror from the first trial at the basement's entrance at the bodega where Hernandez told NYPD detectives he killed Etan.

A few steps away, neighborhood business owner Jolie Alony says that on this day, finally, this basement and its entrance look different, "We can look at that door in a positive way now and say that it is closed and people can go on with their lives now."