Continued from page 1

NEW YORK — A man authorities say confessed to the infamous 1979 disappearance of a 6-year-old boy from his New York City neighborhood has been formally charged with murder and kidnapping, a milestone in a case that has stymied investigators and Etan Patz’s devoted family for decades.

The indictment against Pedro Hernandez, 51, of Maple Shade, N.J., was made public Wednesday and sets up a potential showdown at trial over whether prosecutors can convince a jury that his claim that he strangled the boy — a secret kept for more than 30 years — is credible.

The suspect’s attorney has argued that Mr. Hernandez is mentally ill and prone to hallucinations, thus his confession can’t be trusted.

Prosecutors countered that an exhaustive post-arrest investigation found enough evidence to seek an indictment and proceed to trial.

ALASKA

Scientists: Lack of sea ice changes walrus behavior

ANCHORAGE — Federal scientists say a lack of summer sea ice is changing the behavior of Pacific walruses, but they don’t know what the effect will be.

Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey and Russia tagged 251 walruses in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska’s northern coast and tracked their movements from 2008 to 2011. The results were released at a news conference Wednesday in Anchorage.

A release issued ahead of the news conference said the study shows walruses are arriving earlier than normal at northern feeding grounds in the summer. When sea ice melted completely, the walruses hauled out on land and foraged for food closer to shore.

Scientists say they don’t yet understand the impact of the new behavior, but noted possible higher mortality rates for younger walruses from being trampled.

From wire dispatches and staff reports