Police believe Leibby Kletzky, who would have turned 9 this month and was not used to walking home alone, had gotten lost and asked the suspect, Levi Aron, for help.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Aron told detectives that after he picked the boy up in his car and took him to his apartment, he later “panicked” after hearing about the missing person reports, which is why he killed him.
Some of the boy’s remains were found in Aron’s refrigerator, Kelly said.
“This was a horrendous crime,” Kelly said at a briefing on the case.
Charges were pending, and information about an attorney for Aron, who turned 35 on Wednesday, was not immediately available.
Police got a tip about Aron based on surveillance video released late Tuesday night, and tracked him at his home in Kensington.
When detectives arrived at Aron’s apartment, the door was open, Kelly said. They entered and asked where the boy was, and Aron nodded toward the kitchen, where police found carving knives covered with blood, along with human remains, in the refrigerator.
He then reportedly directed police to an area about two and a half miles away, near 20th Street and Fourth Avenue, where the rest of the boy’s remains were found in a Dumpster.
Aron lives in the third floor of his parents’ house on Avenue C. His parents live on the ground floor and another tenant lives on the second floor of the building.
Police said Aron had moved back to Brooklyn after living in Memphis, Tenn. for several years. Investigators will be contacting authorities in Tennessee to piece together the details of his life, Kelly said.
Before establishing the suspect’s identity, detectives observed him on video entering a dentist’s office on 18th Avenue in Brooklyn at about 5:30 p.m. Monday, not long after the boy had been reported missing, Kelly said.
Detectives located one of the dentists who worked in the office late Tuesday night and established that the suspect had been in the dentist’s office to pay a bill. With the help of a receptionist and another dentist associated with the practice, detectives found the suspect’s name and address and went to his apartment.