NEW YORK (Reuters) - A jury on Friday said it was unable to reach a verdict in the murder trial of a former deli worker who confessed to killing Etan Patz, whose disappearance in 1979 changed the way the United States handles reports of missing children, defense attorneys said.

The panel was in its 18th day of deliberations in the trial of Pedro Hernandez, 54, at state Supreme Court in Manhattan. The jury passed a note to a court official who told defense attorneys that jurors were deadlocked. The defense attorney relayed the note's content to reporters.

(Reporting by Natasja Sheriff; Editing by Barbara Goldberg, Bill Trott and Laila Kearney)