Murder of Hasidic Jewish boy shocks New York community
An eight-year-old Hasidic Jewish boy who got lost walking home from a day camp in one of the safest areas of New York was killed and dismembered by a stranger he asked for directions.
Leiby Kletzky was thought to have taken a wrong turn on a seven block journey to meet his mother on Monday afternoon. An intense search ended with the discovery of his remains in a fridge and a suitcase.
The gruesome killing shocked the city's tight-knit ultra-Orthodox Hasidic community even more because the suspect Levi Aron, 35, is himself an Orthodox Jew, although not Hasidic.
Aron, a clerk at a hardware shop, was identified from a grainy surveillance video which showed him with the boy. At one point Leiby was seen waiting for seven minutes on the street while his abductor went into a dentist's office to pay a bill.
Police said Aron had confessed to the killing, admitting that he smothered the boy with a towel after getting "in a panic" when thousands of volunteers in Brooklyn began looking for him.
Aron also claimed to police that he had taken the boy to a wedding in a New York suburb after abducting him.
Aron's lawyer, Pierre Bazile, said: "From the Aron family, they'd like to extend their condolences to the family of the boy."
Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, called the killing "a stunning shock to our entire city". State Assemblyman Dov Hikind added: "This is a no-crime area. Everybody is absolutely horrified."
There is a 165,000-strong Hasidic Jewish community in New York. Thousands of mourners in traditional dress – black hats and coats for men and modest clothes for women – gathered for the boy's funeral on Wednesday evening.