The man charged with killing a New York City boy in 1979 has appeared in court in a case that catalyzed the missing-children's movement.

Pedro Hernandez was in court for a brief proceeding Thursday, where his next court date was set for Dec. 12.

That's when he'll have a chance to enter a plea. Meanwhile, he's been held without bail.

 

Hernandez was indicted Wednesday on murder and kidnapping charges, following a lengthy investigation after his May arrest.

Authorities say he admitted killing 6-year-old Etan Patz. Defense lawyer Harvey Fishbein says Hernandez is schizophrenic and prone to hallucinations.

The Manhattan district attorney's office says prosecutors don't believe Hernandez' confession is the product of mental illness.

The case faces other challenges, too. It's 33 years old, and Etan's body was never found.

Etan vanished while walking to his school bus stop. The anniversary of his disappearance — May 25 — became National Missing Children's Day.