Murder of boy shakes NY ultra-Orthodox community

Eight-year-old boy last seen Monday, walking from day camp to meet mother at doctor’s office; human remains found in suspect's refrigerator.

Leibby Kletzky New York_311 (photo credit: Reuters)
Leibby Kletzky New York_311
(photo credit: Reuters)
BOROUGH PARK, NEW YORK – Residents of this tightly knit ultra-Orthodox community on Wednesday reacted with anguish and sorrow to the news that one of its own, eight-year-old Liebby Kletzky, had been brutally murdered.
People stopped outside Eichler’s Judaica store on the corner of 13th and 50th streets, the commercial center of this deeply religious part of Brooklyn, to talk about the tragedy which began on Monday with the disappearance of the child, and has shaken the community to its core.
“We’re full of sorrow and mourning,” said Channah, who like other members of the community interviewed by The Jerusalem Post , preferred not to give her full name. “I don’t remember anything like this happening before. We’ve had boys getting lost and then being found, but not ending up being murdered.”
“People today at the synagogue were beside themselves with grief,” said Amnon Itzhack, an Israeli visiting the neighborhood from Jerusalem. “Every place and every second they are talking about it.”
Police arrested a man suspected of carrying out the murder early Wednesday morning.
According to reports, police officers found parts of the victim’s dismembered body inside the refrigerator of an apartment in Manhattan. Later that morning, they recovered a red suitcase packed with human remains, said to belong to the victim, from a dumpster outside an auto-repair shop in Park Slope.
“The police came this morning and took the dumpster away,” a mechanic who worked at the garage on 20th street between 4th and 5th Avenues said. “We don’t know how they knew how to look here.”
Meanwhile, members of the ultra-Orthodox community reacted with horror to rumors that the suspect may have been ultra-Orthodox.
“You have to tell your children, no matter who it is – even if [a man] is frum – they cannot go with them,” said Yakov Buchner, a father of four.
Liebby was last seen on Monday walking from day camp on his way to meet his mother at a nearby doctor’s office. After he vanished without a trace, members of the community launched a massive search for the missing boy. An army of volunteers fanned out through the neighborhood, while vans with loudspeakers drove through the streets asking for information.
Meanwhile, the story made headlines in local and national media outlets.
“Vanished,” was the headline in the New York Post, which appeared Wednesday morning.
“Liebby where are you?” asked Hamodia, a Jewish newspaper catering to religious Jews, on its front page.
By Wednesday afternoon, De Zeitung, a Yiddish newspaper, broke the news that the worst had happened. Its terse headline was the traditional Jewish response on hearing of a death.
Baruch dayan emet,” (Blessed is the True Judge), it read.