NYPD Commissioner: Suspect Panicked, Killed 8-Year-Old Leiby Kletzky
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There was utter shock and disbelief in Brooklyn on Wednesday following the horrific killing of 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky, who was lost and looking for help.
An intense two-day search for the missing Borough Park boy ended with the arrest of 35-year-old Levi Aron after Kletzky’s dismembered body was found in two different locations by police. Wednesday evening, Aron was charged with murder.
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Aron’s attorney spoke briefly with attorneys after meeting with his client Wednesday night. He said that Aron was “holding up well.”
“Our condolences to the family of the victim and at this time were going to let the judicial process take its course — no further comment,” attorney Pierre Brazile said.
Records from a dentist’s office led police to Aron, who was taken into custody early Wednesday after Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said he implicated himself in Kletzky’s death.
CBS 2 has also learned that Aron told police that while volunteers were looking for the boy, he drove Kletzky upstate to Monsey — claiming they went to a wedding. He also allegedly told police that the boy slept in his apartment.
Kelly said Aron panicked after seeing flyers of Kletzky around the neighborhood and killed the boy. Police said according to statements Aron made, he brought the boy to his apartment, killed him there and dismembered the body. However, authorities indicated that the boy was still alive Monday night, when he went missing.
Aron worked at Empire State Supply Company on McDonald Avenue. His boss, Michael Panzer, said he was there for at least 12 years, except for two years when he lived in Memphis, Tenn.
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Panzer described Aron as very polite, a little disorganized and someone who stayed to himself.
“He must have snapped — that’s all I can say. There was no indication of anything. He was very quiet,” Panzer told 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria.
Around 2:40 a.m. Wednesday, detectives went to Aron’s home at 466 East Second St., where they found part of Kletzky’s body inside a refrigerator. Aron lives alone in the third-floor apartment in a building shared with his parents. Kelly said he has lived there for two years.
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When investigators arrived at the home, they found the door slightly ajar and asked where the boy was; Aron nodded to the kitchen. There, they found blood on the refrigerator handle.
“Inside the refrigerator was a cutting board with three carving knives with blood on them,” said Kelly. “Some of the remains were in the freezer.”
Detectives found the other half of Kletzky’s remains wrapped in a black plastic garbage bag inside a red suitcase in a dumpster in Sunset Park, about two miles from Aron’s home.
The medical examiner’s office will determine a cause of death. Kelly said there was no indication that the boy had been sexually molested or that Kletzky knew the suspect.
Police also used two surveillance videos to search for clues in Kletzky’s disappearance.
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One video showed the young boy leaving his day camp, located at 12th Avenue and 44th Street, at 5:05 p.m. He was supposed to meet his mother at 5 p.m. Monday at the corner of 13th Avenue and 50th Street.
Kelly said police believe Kletzky got lost on his way home and stopped at 18th Avenue and 44th Street, where he is seen on video talking to Aron and asking for directions. Later, Kletzky is seen getting into Aron’s gold-colored sedan.
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Aron was tracked down after investigators, looking for Kletzky, noticed a man on the video going into a nearby dentist’s office around 5:30 p.m. Monday, while Kletzky waited across the street.
The dentist, who was later found in New Jersey, said Aron wasn’t a patient but was paying a bill for a patient there and police were able to find him using those records.
Assemblyman Dov Hikind said the boy was the only son of the Kletzky’s five children and said the husband works as a driver for a private car service.
“It’s just a horror for every parent,” Hikind said. “I mean it’s just a tragedy today for everyone in New York.”
Kletzky had begged his parents to let him walk home. They had given him a note, saying he would not be taking the bus.
Kelly said that his parents had gone over the route Kletzky was supposed to take home with him before letting him walk it alone. His mother was waiting for him at a halfway point, which the young boy never made it to.
“Parents know their children better than anyone else, they have to make certain judgments,” Kelly said. “There comes a time when everyone has to go forward on their own and it’s up to the parents to make those determinations.”
“They were horrible yesterday when the child was not there, hoping that they’ll find him, but now forget it,” Hikind said. “How does a parent live with their little child brutally assaulted, murdered, dismembered?”
A funeral will be held for Kletzky later Wednesday.
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