Shock over 'brutal murder' of Jewish Brooklyn boy

By Jennifer Lipman, July 13, 2011
Leibby Kletzky

Leibby Kletzky

Police are questioning a suspect in connection with the brutal murder of an eight-year-old boy from Brooklyn's Charedi Jewish community.

Body parts said to be those of Leibby Kletzky were found in two locations in the Boro Park area, at the apartment of a man called Levi Aron, and hidden in a suitcase in a rubbish bin.

The discovery followed two days of uncertainty, during which time thousands of volunteers joined a search party for the child and local leaders offered a 100,000 dollar reward for information.

Leibby was last seen leaving a summer day camp in Brooklyn on Monday afternoon, but police studied CCTV footage of him walking next to a gold-coloured car and talking to the driver.

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said the footage also showed the driver entering a dentist's office. This enabled detectives to track Mr Aron to his apartment, where they found three butcher's knives. Mr Aron, who is in his 30s, does not have a criminal record.

The New York Post said Mr Aron worked in a hardware store. According to his Facebook profile, he is a member of a group called "Is your family safe? Find out who really lives in your area."

"There is no indication at this time that the victim was known to the suspect previously," said Mr Browne.

According to reports it was the first time Leibby had walked the few blocks alone from the camp to his home.

The state assemblyman for the Boro Park area, Dov Hikind, said there were no words to make sense of what happened. "In this neighbourhood, where so many people are out walking the street at that hour, there was no reason for anyone to be concerned," he said.

"The community here is just waking up with absolute shock, beyond belief.

"It's hard to fathom this innocent little boy, taken by someone from a neighbouring community, and brutally murdered."

New York congressman Jerrold Nadler added: "I am speechless and shocked by the brutality and injustice of this horrific crime.

"As a father and a human being, I am deeply saddened that so innocent a soul could be so cruelly taken."

Last updated: 10:08am, July 22 2011