NEW YORK - The wife of the man who has confessed to killing a long-missing New York City boy in 1979 says he has been mentally ill for years.

Rosemary Hernandez told the Daily News through her attorney that Pedro Hernandez has "suffered from delusions."

Police say Pedro Hernandez told them he strangled Etan Patz. The case led to a national campaign to find missing children.

Attorney Robert Gottlieb says Hernandez's wife wants the prosecutor to understand the severity of his mental illness.

Police are working to corroborate Pedro Hernandez's claims. His lawyer says he's schizophrenic.