An eight-year-old boy who disappeared in the heavily Jewish neighborhood of Borough Park, Brooklyn two days ago was found dead and severed into pieces Wednesday morning.
Police discovered some of the remains of Leiby Kletzky just before 3 a.m. Wednesday in a freezer at the home of 35-year-old Levi Aron and his parents in Kensington. Further remains were found in a nearby dumpster.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Aron made statements implicating himself in the murder and told investigators he killed Kletzky after noticing that the search for the child was intensifying.
"He panicked when he saw the flyers and when he saw the amount of activity being conducted by the community and by the police looking for the boy," said Kelly.
Kelly defended the hard-driving efforts by the investigators and community.
"This was a full-court press, certainly by the community, by the police department. Everything that could be done was being done. I think you can't fine-tune it any more than that," said Kelly.
Investigators received a break in the case after discovering surveillance video of Aron entering a dentist's office while the boy waited outside. Investigators found Aron's name on his dental bill, which led them to the suspect's residence.
When detectives asked Aron where the boy was, Kelly said, Aron nodded toward the kitchen. They saw blood on the handle of the freezer door and inside they found three bloody carving knives, a cutting board and Kletsky's body parts.
Police alleged Aron picked up the boy in his car when the 8-year-old got lost walking home from summer camp to meet his mother seven blocks away. Video footage shows Kletzky started walking from the corner of 44th Street and 12th Avenue around 5:05 p.m. Monday. He was supposed to meet his mother at 50th Street and 13th Avenue. Kelly said Keltzky made a wrong turn, bumped into Aron at the corner of 44th Street and 18th Avenue and asked Aron for directions.
Investigation into Aron's background is continuing. Kelly said the only offense they found on his record was a citation for public urination.
Investigators said the Kletzky family, who are Hasidic Jews, did not know Aron. Police describe Aron as an Orthodox Jew.
Kelly said an autopsy of the boy's body began at 9 a.m. Wednesday morning. The medical examiner's office will determine a cause of death.
Aron has not yet been formally charged.
Kelly said although numbers of missing children are high every year, it is tremendously rare to see a case result in homicide.
"This is obviously every parent's nightmare, we realize that, we understand that. But this type of incident is extremely rare," said Kelly.