Boy (8) killed, dismembered on way home from summer camp
Published 14/07/2011 | 12:11
An eight-year-old boy who got lost walking home from his New York day camp was killed and dismembered by a stranger he asked for directions.
The gruesome murder is all the more shocking as the boy was a Hasidic Jew and he died in his Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood where practically everybody knows everybody.
The child’s remains were found stuffed in a rubbish bin and the man's fridge, police said.
Schoolboy Leiby Kletzky’s killing has shocked the tight-knit Hasidic community in Borough Park, who then learned that the man police have arrested is also an Orthodox Jew.
The child’s severed feet were found inside a bloody freezer at the home of a man who had been spotted with the child on a CCTV camera during the day and a half search for the missing child.
New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said: "It is every parent's worst nightmare,"
The suspect in custody, Levi Aron, (35) implicated himself in the killing, Kelly said.
Police currently have no motive for the attack - there is no evidence the boy was sexually assaulted. However, one line of inquiry is that the attacker panicked when he saw the extent of the search operation.
The Hasidic community are ultra-Orthodox Jews who live in somewhat in tightly knit groups. Their streets are policed by a group of volunteers known as the Shomrim patrol.
Most families regard it as being perfectly safe to allow children to walk home alone from camps or school. The suspect is from an Orthodox, not a Hasidic Jewish family.
He lived about 12 blocks from the murdered child’s family and when police arrived at his attic apartment to search it he nodded them towards the kitchen.
Detectives spotted blood on the door of the freezer, opened it and discovered the feet inside, wrapped in plastic bags. A chopping board and three bloody carving knives were in the fridge and a plastic garbage bag with bloody towels was found nearby, police said.
Aron directed them where to find the rest of the body. They found it in pieces, wrapped in plastic bags, inside a red suitcase in a rubbish bin.
A massive search had been underway since Leiby went missing last Monday afternoon. It was the first time he was allowed to walk home alone and his parents had undertaken a practice run with him the previous Friday.
Police tracked Aron down when they watched a surveillance video that showed a boy getting into a car with a man outside a dentist’s office just one block from Leiby’s intended route home.
When police contacted the dentist he recalled a man paying a bill and Aron was located through the dentist’s records. They raided his apartment just 40 minutes later at 2.40am
Commissioner Kelly said it was "totally random" that Aron grabbed the boy, and aside from a summons for urinating in public, he had no criminal record.
A local woman told police that her son had said Aron had once tried to lure him into his car, but nothing happened.
Locals reported that Aron hurt his head when he was hit by a car while riding his bike at the age of nine and suffered problems stemming from that accident.
The New York medical examiner's office released the body so that the boy could be buried promptly yesterday evening according to Jewish custom.