New York News

Suspect charged as Leiby Kletzky laid to rest

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Authorities say 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky was a victim of a random act of violence, murdered and dismembered after he apparently got lost and asked for help.

Police arrested Levi Aron, who turned 35 on Wednesday, at 2:40 a.m. at his residence on East 2nd Street in the Kensington section of Brooklyn.

Aron was officially charged Wednesday with Murder in the Second Degree Intentional.

A source with the NYPD close to the investigation tells Eyewitness News reporter Jeff Pegues that police looked into whether the suspect took 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky to a wedding in Monsey.

However, the couple that got married told police they don't recall seeing the little boy.

The couple apparently lives in Far Rockaway, but celebrated their wedding upstate.

Eyewitness News has also learned that police are working now to determine whether Aron can be tied to other missing children cases.

So far, they haven't found anything.

As investigators press the suspect for answers inside the 67th Precinct, a law enforcement source characterized Levi Aron's demeanor through it all as cold and showing a lack of emotion.

Right now investigators are building their case against him.

ABC News confirmed that the suspect made a full written confession to authorities of how he smothered the boy with a towel and then dismembered him.

Sources told ABC that the suspect also made taped admissions.

Wednesday night, dressed from head to toe in Hazardous Materials suits, investigators searched the 35-year-old's Kensington Home for evidence, among the items removed from the home, a section of a refrigerator.

Perhaps one of the most important pieces of evidence.

Aron's arrest came hours after a New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services Missing Child Alert had been issued for Kletzky.

Kletzky left the Boyan Day Camp at 1205 44th Street Monday evening, but never showed up to meet his mother three blocks away in Borough Park.

Kelly said the boy's parents had taken him through the route the day before, and he was to walk the seven blocks from the camp to meet his mother. He left at about 5:05 p.m., got lost and asked the wrong man for help.

The surveillance video released by police shows Kletzky walking behind a man near a gold vehicle on 18th Avenue between 45th Street and 46th Street.

The video shows the same man entering a dentist's office nearby just 10 minutes earlier. Detectives located one of the dentists who worked there and established that the suspect had been in the office on Monday to pay a bill.

Officials said with the assistance of a receptionist and another dentist associated with the practice, detectives found records at the dentists' office that established the suspect's name and address. He was apprehended 40 minutes later.

Kelly said he lives alone in an attic apartment, in a building occupied by his parents and other family. He has lived there since returning from Memphis, Tennessee two years ago.

Kelly said investigators found blood on Aron's refrigerator. Detectives opened it to discover bloody knives, a cutting board and feet inside.

Officials said Aron told investigators to go to the dumpster, on 20th Street off Fourth Avenue in Greenwood Heights. Police found the dumpster's lid open and a suitcase inside that contained portions of the boy's dismembered body.

"It was a very brutal murder," Assemblyman Dov Hikind said. "We're all very, very sad. This is the worst possible conclusion imaginable."

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Police said it does not appear that Levi had any previous contact with Kletzky or his family.

"It appears to be totally random," Kelly said.

On Tuesday night, thousands of neighbors, investigators and detectives helped Leiby's parents search for him.

Kelly said Aron panicked when he saw the extent of the search and killed the boy.

Aron has no major criminal record. He received one criminal summons, for urinating in public last year.

He is employed as a clerk at a maintenance supply company in Brooklyn. Except for his time in Memphis, he was employed there approximately 12 years.

Aron grew up, lived and worked in this Orthodox Jewish Community. His co-workers and friends say Aron was quiet, even a bit off.

While in Memphis, he was married and divorced. His ex-wife filed for an order of protection against him, which he went to court to have dismissed.

Shimeon Kaplan grew up with Aron, has known him for 25 years. He says the past five or 6 years have been very stressful for the 35 year old. He said the death of Aron's mother was traumatic, but it's a long way from the loss of a parent to a vicious murder.

"He should get help. He should get lots of help," Kaplan said.

There is a very deep sadness in Borough Park. It is felt by the children who were friends of this little boy and parents who are finding it difficult to understand and explain what has happened.

"He prayed in the same synagogue as I pray in. So I saw him every day and he was like my son," Sholem Kushner said.

So many in this community spent countless hours searching building after building, street after street in the hopes of finding the little boy only to learn the worst news possible.

Hindy Ackerman is stunned by the horrific nature of this crime.

"This is the first, and hopefully the last time ever. We really don't know how to deal with it. There is no way to deal with this," Ackerman said.

At Yeshiva Boyan, where Leiby attended day camp, his fellow students were returning hand in hand with their parents. Inside, they were able to talk about what has happened with grief counselors.

A funeral for Kleztky was held on Wednesday night at 8:30 after the body was released from the medical examiner's officer. An autopsy proved inconclusive in determining how the boy was killed, but further tests are pending.

VIEW PHOTOS OF THE FUNERAL HERE

Thousands gathered in Borough Park for 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky.

His traditional wooden casket was carried on shoulders through the crowd.

It was a funeral as big as the collective broken heart of the community.

The rabbi of the Shul where Leiby worshiped with his family was crying from his very first word in Yiddish.

He quoted scripture and told the crowd this was not Leiby's fault.

The rabbi tried his best to comfort the thousands who gathered to pay their respects and to try to make sense out of something that can never make sense.

"I want to tell you, to comfort the community would be impossible," Rabbi Nathan Rosenberg said.

He is not the family's rabbi, but his words were for all there.

Including Nechama Buff, who lost a child to cancer years ago.

The pain is still in her heart, but she has hope for Leiby's family.

"I hope not for these parents, but you never stop asking questions, 'What could I have said, did I kiss him enough, did I kiss him the day before?' You never stop asking those questions," Buff said.

After the service was over there was a procession in which Leiby's traditional wooden casket was taken one last time to his house, the very place he was trying to get to the night he was taken.

The night was made whole by a community full of grief, but full of love as well, for a little boy taken way too soon.

CLICK TO WATCH THE FULL NEWS CONFERENCE WITH POLICE COMMISSIONER RAY KELLY

For more information on The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children please visit: www.NYSPCC.org

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Tags:
leiby kletzky, levi aron, borough park, brooklyn, new york city, murder, crime, new york news
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