NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP)Etan Patz would stop by the same SoHo bodega nearly every day to buy candy or soda, and his alleged killer was working at the store the day the 6-year-old boy vanished in 1979, the defendant’s brother-in-law told jurors Thursday.

Juan Santana spent his second day on the witness stand in the Manhattan murder trial of Pedro Hernandez. Santana said he helped Hernandez get hired as a stock clerk at the bodega where he also worked.

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The prosecutor declared Santana an uncooperative, hostile witness. Santana answered most questions, through an interpreter, with “I don’t remember” or “I don’t recall,” 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.

However, Santana’s testimony placed Hernandez at the bodega on Prince Street and West Broadway on May 25, 1979. Etan was headed to the store with $1 in his hand on the morning he disappeared, his mother said.

Hernandez confessed to police in 2012 that he offered Etan a soda to entice him into the store’s basement. Then, Hernandez said, he choked the boy and dumped him, still alive, in a box with some curbside trash. Etan’s body has never been found.

Santana testified that Hernandez likely would not have had access to the bodega basement until at least 9 a.m., an hour after Etan was scheduled to catch the bus.

“I wanted the jury to understand how the bodega works and how it would’ve been impossible for Pedro to have been outside the store at 8 o’clock, let alone in the basement,” Fishbein said.

Defense lawyers say Hernandez’s videotaped confession is fiction, dreamed up by a mentally ill man with a low IQ and a history of hallucinations — and fueled by over six hours of police questioning before Hernandez was read his rights.

Santana’s testimony was inconsistent on one key point, WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported. In earlier statements to detectives and before a grand jury, Santana said the day the boy vanished was Hernandez’s last day on the job — or, as the prosecutor put it, “he got out of dodge.” But on the witness stand Thursday, Santana testified it was not Hernandez’s last day of work at the store.

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As for Hernandez’s defense of having a low IQ and mental illness, Santana testified his brother-in-law always seemed normal to him.

Pedro Hernandez in court on Nov. 15, 2012 (credit: CBS2)

Pedro Hernandez in court on Nov. 15, 2012 (credit: CBS2)

Jurors were shown photos that took them back 35 years to a much different SoHo. They viewed pictures of the bodega and of Santana behind the counter as a detective investigating Etan’s disappearance visited the store.

Santana admitted TV cameras were there in the days and weeks following the boy’s disappearance.

Fishbein moved twice for a mistrial this week, Schneider reported, but the judge denied it both times.

Etan’s disappearance ushered in a new protectiveness into American parenting.

He became one of the first missing children featured on milk cartons. His parents advocated for legislation that created a nationwide law-enforcement framework to address such cases.

The anniversary of his disappearance is now National Missing Children’s Day.

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