BROOKLYN, NY (PIX11)—As people attempted to process news of the horrific kidnapping and dismemberment of an 8-year-old Brooklyn boy, those who knew the victim and his accused killer reacted.
Alleged killer Levi Aron worked for Michael Panzer at Empire State Supply, who said, "He must have snapped, that's all I can say. There was no indication," Panzer said. "Over here, he had no contact with any children."
But Levi Aron did have social contact on the Internet, where there was a "Mazel Tov" posted on the dating service site, True.com, regarding the marriage of a Levi Aron of Brooklyn, New York, to a Tennessee woman. Aron worked in Memphis as a security guard for about two years, before returning to his family home on East 2nd Street, where he lived in the attic. His colleagues believed he was divorced.
Outside the Borough Park apartment building where the victim, Leibby Kletzky, used to live with his parents and four sisters, neighbor Simcha Rosenfeld said of Leibby, "He was really a special boy. I mean, he was 9 years old, but he acted like he was 11. A really smart kid. What can we say? He was in the wrong place at the wrong time." Kletzky, who was actually eight, was just days away from his birthday when his life was taken.
Malky Schwartz, a mother of two young children who lives in Borough Park, was pushing her one-year-old in a stroller and told PIX 11, "I think everyone's walking around, like, half-dead." She said of the boy's parents, "I hope they don't blame themselves, because I think any parent would. But it's not their fault."
The family was hoping to hold Leibby's funeral Wednesday night, in accordance with Jewish tradition requiring their dead be buried quickly. The family had to wait for the release of Leibby's remains from the medical examiner's office.
The manner in which Leibby was snatched--and then killed--by a member of the Orthodox Jewish community should be a wake-up call, according to Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who suspected the boy was being targeted by a pedophile.
"Why did he pick up a 9 year old?" Hikind asked PIX 11. "Can anyone tell me anything except taking advantage of this child--perhaps sexually?"
Hikind helped to expose dozens of decades-old complaints about sex abuse in the ultra-insular Orthodox community back in 2008. He said this case serves as a new warning to children about "stranger danger": "When someone comes over who looks like your father--white shirt, black pants, maybe a beard--you don't trust him because he looks like your father." He added this final note about the suspect coming from within the Orthodox Jewish community, "It is what it is. His name is Levi."