A harried search for a missing 8-year-old Hasidic boy ended in gruesome discoveries in Greenwood Heights and Kensington this morning — leaving local residents reeling.
Little Leiby Kletzky disappeared from Borough Park on Monday afternoon, and after a frantic search by the community, cops found his hacked-up remains in a Dumpster on 20th Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues and at a home on E. Second Street.
“I am horrified that sick deeds like this still go on in this world, let alone in Brooklyn,” said Aaron Brashear, president of the Concerned Citizens of Greenwood Heights. “I guess no community is immune, but it saddens me that our neighborhood has once again been the dumping ground for one person’s sick actions.”
According to the New York Post, video footage and credit card transactions led cops to arrest Kensington resident Levi Aron, 35. After raiding his home near Avenue C early today, they found pieces of Ketzky’s body in his fridge.
Aron ultimately led police to the 20th Street Dumpster — where additional body parts were found.
Investigators said there was no evidence that the boy knew Aron, who has yet to be charged in the child’s death.
Yet the gruesome discovery spoke volumes to those who spent the last two days looking for the missing tyke.
“This is the act of an animal,” said Chaim Deutsch, founder of the Flatbush Shomrim, a volunteer safety patrol that took part in the massive search. “The community, men, women, were crying [when they heard the news]. A lot of people I spoke to — including myself — just can’t work today.”
Jack Gold, a member of Hatzoloh of Flatbush, a volunteer emergency response service, said the news was devastating to the more than 3,000 volunteers who had joined the search for the boy.
“When you get the news, it’s just emotionally shattering,” said Gold. “As a parent, you’re hypersensitive to this.”
Today’s find capped a frantic three-day search for Kletzky. The Borough Park youngster was supposed to meet his mother at 50th street and 13th avenue on Monday, but apparently got lost.
Cops recovered surveillance footage of Kletzky heading toward 18th Avenue, where police sources say he came upon Aron and asked for directions. At the time, Aron was in Borough Park to pay a bill at his dentist’s office, cops said.
But instead of bringing Kletzky to the boy’s mother, he reportedly took the 8 year old to his house. More video surveillance footage recovered during the investigation showed Aron’s car leaving the area where Kletzky was last seen.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Aron “panicked” when he saw the widespread community response to Kletzky’s disappearance and suffocated the child. He then reportedly chopped the body up in an attempt to get rid of the remains.
Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D–Borough Park), who offered a $100,000 reward for information about Kletzky’s whereabouts, said the boy’s family is overcome with grief.
“How do you protect your child? Do we chalk this up as a statistic and go on with our life, or do we do something different?” said Hikind. “It’s one thing that your child is murdered, but then you find out the details. Life has to go on, but how do you go on?”
Funeral arrangements are pending the release of the body by the medical examiner.