NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As the hearse carrying Leiby Kletzky’s body made its way to a final goodbye, a sea of humanity parted in silence. It was a final, respectful bow to a boy who trusted a stranger and died because of it.
“It’s a shock, a shock. Nobody can believe it,” said one mourner at Wednesday night’s funeral.
Thousands of people turned out to mourn the boy’s death and pay their respects. Even blocks away, the crowds spilled into the streets.
PHOTO GALLERY: 8-Year-Old Boy Murdered, Dismembered
The boy’s sisters and mother entered the temple school first, then came Leiby. His casket was lifted above the crowd, which was stunned by how he died.
“No one understands how this happened, why this happened and why it was such a brutal murder,” Hadassa Sochet told CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey.
Three rabbis spoke at the funeral service. The boy’s father also spoke briefly, thanking God for such a “beautiful child” with a “beautiful soul,” 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.
The boy’s burial will be in Laurel Park, N.J.
The people of Borough Park gathered in groups earlier Wednesday to share what they’ve heard and how they felt about the terrible tragedy that has struck their community.
“It’s an unbelievable, unbelievable feeling that … I feel I lost one of my kids. That’s the closeness that everyone feels to this family,” one woman told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.
Kletzky is the only son in a family of five children and he would have turned 9 this month.
The boy’s father — Nachman Kletzky — owns a passenger van and works as a driver for various community agencies. Kletzky’s family is neither prominent nor prosperous.
“Great people. I mean, there’s nothing more to say. No flowery stuff about them, they’re not into the trimmings and all the hidden agendas that come along with pleasures of life and all this stuff. They’re a simple, humble, good family that just wanted to be an asset to this world in the best way they can,” said family friend Shmuel Eckstein.
In their time of need, hundreds of fellow Hasidim rushed to help Kletzky’s family in the search. Many looked at Leiby’s picture and thought that he could be their child.
“I can speak for myself as a father. Thinking over the final grisly moments of this death, there’s no words,” Borough Park resident Joshua Berman said.
An intense two-day search for the missing Borough Park boy ended with the arrest of 35-year-old Levi Aron, after the boy’s dismembered body was found in two different locations by police. Aron was charged with murder Tuesday evening.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Aron panicked after seeing flyers of Kletzky around the neighborhood and killed the boy.
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.
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.
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