Missing NYC boy found dead, mutilated, cops say

NEW YORK - Remains believed to be those of a little boy who disappeared while walking home from a Brooklyn day camp were found in a refrigerator Wednesday inside the home of a man being questioned by detectives, police said.

Eight-year-old Leiby Kletzky is shown on grainy surveillance video footage wearing a backpack as he walks down the street on Monday. A man who is seen walking near the boy in the video is in now custody, chief police spokesman Paul J. Browne said. Detectives found other body parts believed to be those of Leiby wrapped in a black plastic garbage bag inside a red suitcase that had been tossed into a trash bin in another Brooklyn neighborhood, Browne said.

At about 6:45 a.m., an NYPD crime unit carted away the trash bin and put it in a truck, and police officers walked in a line looking for evidence under cars and on sidewalks.

The 35-year-old man is still being interviewed, police said, and has not yet been arrested on any formal charges. He lives alone in his apartment, in a building shared with his parents. The man, who police have not publicly identified, once had a summons for urinating in public but otherwise did not have a criminal record.

Dismembered remains of missing NYC boy Leiby Kletzky found

The man made statements implicating himself in the crime, Browne said, but would not go into detail.

Investigators hunting for the boy noticed the man on the video going into a nearby dentist about 5:30 p.m. Monday, Browne said. The dentist, located later in New Jersey, said he remembered someone coming in to the shop who wasn't a patient, but who was paying a bill for a patient there, and police were able to track down the man using records from the office. When they went to his home, they made the gruesome discovery.

The medical examiner's office will determine a cause of death and positive identification.

Leiby was last seen near 44th Street and 12th Avenue in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn just before 5 p.m. Monday. The Hasidic boy was coming home from day camp and was supposed to meet his mother about three blocks away but never showed up.

According to CBS station WCBS, Kletzky had begged his parents to let him walk home. They gave him a note saying he wouldn't be taking the bus.

Watch WCBS' report at left

At the day camp, people said the children were susceptible to suggestions from strangers.

"He respects everyone...if you would tell him, you yourself were to tell him, 'I would like you to sit here until I come back,' he would sit down until you come back," Jacob Baskal of the Borough Park Shomrim told WCBS.

Hasidism is a form of ultra-Orthodox Judaism. Followers live in tight-knit communities nearly closed off to modern society and wear traditional dress — for men, dark clothing that includes a long coat and a fedora-type hat. Men often have long beards and ear locks.

Most of the 165,000 members in the New York City the area live in neighborhoods in Brooklyn and are part of three different major sects. Hasidism traces its roots to 18th-century Eastern Europe.

The insular community rarely seeks outside help, and State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, whose district includes the area, often speaks for the group.

The man in custody at a Brooklyn precinct was Jewish but it's not clear if he's Hasidic. A $100,000 reward had been offered, Hikind said the outpouring of support has been tremendous with people from all over the state volunteering their time to scour the neighborhood and hand out flyers.

Hikind said the boy was the only son of the Kletzky family. The couple has four daughters, and the husband works as a driver for a private car service.

"Everybody is absolutely horrified," he said. "Everyone is in total shock, beyond belief, beyond comprehension ... to suddenly disappear and then the details ... and the fact someone in the extended community ... it's awful," he said.

Hikind said the parents did not know the 35-year-old man, who lived about a mile away from the boy.