Acquaintances: Suspect In Leiby Kletzky Murder Showed No Warning Signs

Levi Aron Even Helped Look For 8-Year-Old; Said To Be Quiet, Non-Violent

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — People who know 35-year-old Levi Aron, the man charged with murder in the grisly dismemberment killing of 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky, said there was no indication he was capable of something so horrific.

Those who worked closely with Aron for years told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin on Wednesday he was hard-working, quiet, non-violent, but socially awkward every day at Empire State Supply Company.

“A little emotionally disturbed,” Michael Panzer, the suspect’s boss, said describing Aron.

PHOTO GALLERY: Death Of 8-Year-Old Leiby Kletzky

Panzer said there were no warning signs or red flags.

“Nothing at all. As a matter of fact, yesterday he was working here normal day, regular hours,” Panzer said.

When asked if there was anything different about Aron on Tuesday — the day the investigation into the boy’s disappearance went into overdrive and the story went national — Panzer said his behavior was normal. He said for more than a decade as a clerk in the warehouse full of building materials Aron did not like to mix with his co-workers, not even when they mobilized to help find the missing boy.

“We were all participating in the search and no explanation,” said Panzer.  He went on to say that Aron displayed “nothing to give any kind of signs of anything happening.”

Panzer said after close to a decade working for Empire State Supply Company, Aron married a woman who already had two kids. They briefly moved to her hometown of Memphis, Tenn.

During much of Aron’s two years in Tennessee, he was a security guard. The marriage ended in divorce in 2006, with no children.

His ex-wife’s shocked relatives include an uncle who said he recalls “domestic issues” where Aron was accused of being abusive. Police delved into Aron’s criminal records and found only one prior brush with the law, a citation for public urination. A background search is also underway in Memphis.

Aron’s arrest stunned many former members of his family, reports CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis.

“I really didn’t believe what I heard this morning from the New York reporter when they called my Mom,” ex-brother-in-law Steven Kivel said.

Ruth Kivel, once his mother-in-law, said she was shocked, mostly because Aron “seemed okay to me.”

His ex-wife, Debbie Aron, was still stunned when she spoke to reporters on Wednesday night. She said she spoke to Levi a few days ago and he seemed fine.

“You know nobody knows what’s going on. I’m just finding out information. I’m in total shock since my phone’s been ringing off the hook at 8 this morning,” she said.

After Aron returned to New York City and regained his old job, he lived in the attic apartment in his parents’ house in the Kensington section of Brooklyn, driving the gold Honda now part of police evidence.

Betty Perri, who lives a few doors down from the Aron house, said he must have been aware the search for the boy could’ve soon been right at his door.

“They knocked at my door last night, said can I look in your back yard and I said sure go ahead,” Perri told Carlin.

Aron is being held back in the 67th Precinct stationhouse in East Flatbush. Sources told CBS 2’s Dennis he’s been talkative, making several statements, and forcing officers to obtain additional search warrants. His newly appointed attorney, Pierre Brazile, met with him briefly.

The question everyone’s asking is what kind of monster would lure Kletzky into an attack, and then dismember him?

“In his own mind, it’s a way of getting rid of the whole incident. The dismemberment is a way of getting rid of the whole incident,” New York forensic pathologist Dr. Charles Bahn said.

Bahn said Aron fits the profile of a man struggling with his own demons, panicking and then somehow snapping.

“What happens is, very often the pressure increases and increases and increases. And what happens to the boiling water when it increases too much? The lid comes off,” Bahn said.

The community is stunned and saddened by the shocking loss of life.

“It’s a tragic situation and we’re all sad and upset,” neighbor Abraham Glick said.

“He must have snapped. This is outrageous,” Panzer added.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

  • E. Gonzalez

    I also agree that in this situation, the perpetrator hasn’t been shown on tv or paraded around by the police when he was arrested like in other cases. That, however, doesn’t take away from the horrible death this innocent little boy suffered. What’s a parent to do now? You have to give your children some sense of independence, but you’re terrified of something like this happening. My heart goes out to his parents.

  • Prison Chaplain UK

    The fact that he turns up at work and plays normal, knowing that the whole town is searching for a little boy that he has killed or at least kidnapped at that point, tells me that he has a long and regular history of crime of this type. I also believe he will crack easily and tell all if put under mild ‘legal’ torture.

    He certainly aint gonna walk outa jail alive.

  • Andy Lei

    Don’t worry people, this will be another Casey Anthony case, he will be free in a few weeks.

  • saratriste

    the one who kill a child must die!!!!! same goes to the woman in orlando.
    My heart is broken of pain and sadness for little Leiby.

  • justpassinthru

    So he was ’emotionally disturbed’ but there were ‘no warning signs?’The news certainly treats different groups of ppl differently as if it were a shock that this person could have done this…. Also it it were a different type of person, would Commisioner Kelly say ‘the parents know best’ in explaining why an 8 year old boy was allowed to walk home alone? Perhaps any other person would have been blamed for not supervising that child?? A lot of double standards….

  • Bivi

    I say there’s always a pair of eyes on you watching ones every move…they are not good ones. Unfortunately nowadays we live in a jungle with plenty of beasts out there and one has to be vigilant at all times. Parents should not allow small children to walk alone in the streets and they must sit down with them and tell them not to talk or accept anything from strangers. If they are lost they should look for a policeman or a Mother with children and ask for help. They should put this monster in jail with criminals in for life with no parole..they will take care of him. No isolation and no death penalty with an injection…too easy…he needs to suffer before he dies and then face God.
    My condolences to the victim’s family.

  • George

    Painful and sad. However I’m am also very taking with the media coverage and amount of law enforcement that covered this case. If this had been a black kid, there’s is no doubt in my mind that maybe a few policemen would have been assign to the case. And probably the mother would have be charged with neglect and derangement of a child. Makes me understand a little better why there is so much racist in our society. Too many double standards. A case like this painful as it may be also represents what this country is all about. We need to treat everyone equally. Jews, Blacks, Hispanics,asian, Muslims all deserve the same approach that was used in the sad instance. I feel heart broken for the family, and shamed to be an American today.

    • Elliot

      The local community came out en masse to search for this boy. Thousands of volunteers lined up at three command centers set up by volunteer patrols and volunteer rescue groups. There was tremendous police assistance, but the rescue efforts were initiated by the community, and it was the community’s desparation, that prompted the poloice response. If a black kid’s disappearance in harlem or a muslim in Detroit wer to prompt a massive cmmunity effort such as this one, the police response would be the same as well.

  • EXCUSE ME???????????

    EXCUSE ME???????????



    • Zoe C.

      I think he means – He’s just a boy…like how could he do this to an innocent child



  • Janice

    @ Sad day in NYC

    I totally agree with you. Had it been someone of a different religion or race, he would have been paraded in cuffs in front of the media cameras.

    And these same people who are referring to this man as “sick”, would be calling someone else who had done this an animal and worst!

  • rose merlos

    i am so sorry about the loss of the little boy. i am wondering if the arons address is 466 east 2nd street because if it is his parents was my parents landlord. i grew up on the third floor in that house. in a room to the back of the house there is a closet and in that closet is a small room.

    • Lisa

      Yes it is, it was on the news last night. You lived where Levi Aron did, on the third floor.

  • Sad day in NYC

    The tragedy that occurred was senseless and so heart wrenching. My heart is saddened by the death of this baby. Whatever grief the parents, the four surviving siblings, and extended family are suffering is not something I would wish on my worst enemy. I truly and genuinely mean that…I am praying for this family to find peace within. The utter disregard for human life is distasteful and so difficult to comprehend. All I kept thinking about is how this innocent child, simply sought directions from someone he thought he could trust and that trust was violated and dismembered beyond any form of recognition…what is wrong with people today? My heart is so heavy regarding this news. May the souls of the departed rest in peace.

    As for the suspect, I am amazed at how discrete the police and media are handling the murder suspect media coverage. Is it only me that notices how discrete this is being handled? If the murder suspect were african-american or latino, he would have been paraded about the news with handcuffs and shackles like an everyday animal/criminal that this man clearly is. Despite the horrific crime this man is being charged with because of his “affiliation” with the community he is not being paraded and put on stage like other suspects would be. I won’t go on any further about it but I just couldn’t help but mention it to see if perhaps others observed this too.

    • Brian

      Because THOUSANDS of jews searched the streets of Brooklyn for a day and a half. I drove by Boro Park on Tuesday night, and there were a couple of hundred people on line waiting for search assignments at one of the command centers, and there were two other centers where the same thing was going on. The press was intrigued by the search, more than the fact that the boy was missing.

    • Heartbroken

      the reason why u heard about this kidnap and murder more than u usually would, is because when there is a crisis in a jewish community everyone drops what they r doing and helps out in whatever way they can! its everyones child, not just the grieving parents child!!!!! u dont find this in other cultures!

    • RIP

      You said…

      “”””””the reason why u heard about this kidnap and murder more than u usually would, is because when there is a crisis in a jewish community everyone drops what they r doing and helps out in whatever way they can! its everyones child, not just the grieving parents child!!!!! u dont find this in other cultures!””””””””””

      I do know that the Jewish community are a very tight community in which they help each other and are very religious and so on and so on….I am not disputing that at all……I am talking about how they get their story told across the nation in a matter of hours by the whole media press and all government agencies….

      For instance how did the FBI get involved at all in the first place? The FBI would only have gotten involved had the child been taken across state lines or something like that and after hard evidence only..
      Had it been a black child in the exact situation….everyone would agree, I would think that the FBI would not have gotten involved….The way I see it is that the Jewish community have special connections….that is not the way government should work at any level….we ALL pay into the government via our tax dollars and should get treated the same from all government no matter what… If the government did that don’t you think this whole world would be different? The government should set the example for everyone to follow….

      Another thing…everyone sees how the media plays down the fact that the perpetrator is Jewish…the whole wording in the media is very anonymous or neutral towards the man because he is Jewish….If he had been Latino or black the wording and treatment by the media/police would no doubt be totally different, very violent and generalizing or stereotyping all blacks or Latinos etc. etc….

      Having said that I feel extremely angry about what happen to that little boy and I am glad that the agencies were able to track the man so quickly…

      My sympathies for the family and everyone involved. God bless them..

  • father knows best

    what they shoud be doing is looking in to other missing kids i dont think this is his first time dont be fooled by his looks it takes someone with a wicked hart to kill a child less more chop him up like meat this is the work of some one who killed before and loved it he did not snap or panic he knew what he was doing they closed in too fast trust me he did this before before he dies check real good im sure he is the devil so he belongs in hell and thats real talk

  • BeenThereDoneThat

    Regardless of religion, a horrible crime was committed here. i don’t think he considered that when he committed the crime. I think most people can agree with that. This person and any other should be accountable for his/her actions. They say “there is trash in all colors” well the same goes for religion too

    • Norma Rosado

      It is painful, but now a days it is hard to trust even family members with our children, imagine strangers. I pick up my 12yr. old grandson at school everyday. Sometimes he ask me to let him walk, because I don’t like to embarassed him in front of his friends I let him walk, but I follow him in my car without him noticing me. There are so many crazy peoplein the streets u don’t know who is who. My Love and condolense to the boys family

      • Smart guy..

        Smart guy with some common sense for a change…..

  • Ellen

    It’s not unusual for these killers to be anti-social. Almost all of them are, and meaning one thing and one thing only is that they have no use for people in general.

  • Hang in there

    I think that people get carried away with race, religion, whatever. This case is so grisly that I’m speechless.

    However, for that matter, as an African American New Yorker, this is possibly the first time that I cried when I read the news. In fact, I’m so disgusted by this crime that I have almost lost my appetite.

    My heart goes out to the victim’s family. I can’t imagine what hell they are suffering now (for no good reason).

    • Humans will turn on you

      Crying doesn’t help the situation at all. We have to get on the phone and ask
      Charles F. Bolden, Jr. to boot these criminals off to the Moon or to Mars to do physical labor.

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