Murdered Hasidic Boy May Have Had Autism

The eight-year-old Borough Park boy, whose remains were partially found in a dumpster in Park Slope Wednesday may have been autistic, according to one report.

Leibby Kletzky was abducted by a fellow Chassidic community member during what police say was the first time he had ever walked home alone. He had already diverged from the direct route home from camp, and stopped to ask his alleged murderer, Levy Aron, for directions.

It is unclear why only a few news sources have reported that the boy suffered from autism.

When police asked where the boy was being held after entering Aron’s Kensington home, he pointed to the kitchen, where a refrigerator streaked with blood held a cutting board, three carving knives, and the rest of of the boy’s remains.

The suspect lived with his parents, according to Assemblyman Dov Hikind, D-Brooklyn, who also said on the Joe Scarborough show this morning that he did not believe the parents were involved.

“I want to know which police precinct he is being held in, so I can attack him during the perp walk,” said Mo Gelber, who was one of thousands who came out to help search for the child after he went missing on Monday. “I know I will be arrested for assault, but I have no problem sitting in jail for a few days in order to have the opportunity to hurt this guy,” he added.

Update: Asked if the boy was learning disabled, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said that was “unknown at this time.”

What do you think?

About The Author


The international media conspiracy and/or the new Jew review. Take your pick.

20 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    It is also unclear why the media keeps getting quotes from members of this community stating “they never thought this would happen” and “out neighborhoods are so safe” and “he was one of us.” Really? Clearly it can happen and it did happen. This faulty reasoning is dangerous and deadly. To think because you live around people that have the same skin color, are the same nationality or even the same religion increases your safety is foolish and makes no sense. Evil has no skin color, has no nationality and certainly not a religion.

    I hope the Hassidic Jews in that community are not promotion this types of careless thinking. The parents of this child were negligent. Sadly, individuals walking alone seem to be an invitation for evil. It is also being reported the murderer is mentally ill. This is an excuse to rationalize the fact he is not black as previously suspected. Because everyone knows to dismember someone you have to be mentally ill. No. You are evil. The man has no remorse and has reportedly stated he doesnt even know why he did the crime.

    I am very saddedned by the sheer stupidity of parents. I see this every day–children walking alone no adult in sight. When the child come up missing/dead everyone is in shock and can’t believe it happened. Really?

    To think evil and crime does not exist in that community is nonsensical. Out of 165000 Hassidic Jews—not one is evil. Really? Come on. All over the internet they are repeateing this tired frame of “we are a safe community….” crimes are being committed they may not be being reported.

  2. Lisa

    Please take this post down. It is ill-informed and more importantly, disrespectful considering the tragic events.

  3. bannister

    Hey, half the kids in the United States have autism nowadays. It’s an over-diagnosed syndrome.

    And it’s irrelevant. Just pray for the boy and his family.

  4. Vikki

    Hi Bannister and Lisa,

    I can understand your reaction—especially you Lisa. I have to disagree though. The reason it is very relevant is because the parents allowed this boy to walk home alone. If he indeed did have autism, that may have been a contributing factor to why he couldn’t find his way home, and why he would have been easier prey for sickos. It may (depending on his specific disability) also mean that the parents were exercising poor judgement in allowing him to be alone, and—if it’s true—the case should be referred to the Office of Children and Family Services for their review.

  5. Asha

    Why wasn’t his autism reported more widely? I had a suspicion that something was “off” with this story:

    1. In a surveillance clip, Leibby was walking with his arm up at an odd, not typical manner. That body language made me suspect he was on the autism spectrum.

    2. Most parents I know (I am not Hasid, though) teach their children from an early age to approach a police officer or mother with children, if they are lost.

    3. It seemed unlikely to me that a 9 year old would get lost walking a few blocks in a straight line. Most NYC kids know their own neighborhoods well enough not to get lost. I always quiz my kids while we are walking, and they know the way home from all the neighborhood spots we frequent.

    I agree with Vikki. The parents made an iffy decision, IMO. I don’t think they are bad parents and I am certain they feel awful enough. They are NOT to blame for their son’s tragic death — Mr. Aron is!

  6. arik

    this poorly written article is speculative at best, more likely, malicious. further, mr. aron is far from chassidishe, in fact, according to various first hand reports he isnt religious at all. sadly, because the religious community accepts all as equals and refrains from gossip-mongering, muckracking, baseless hatred and ostracizing, they will always be vulnerable to infiltration by the lowest denominator of society.

    this article is disgusting for its ill-founded reporting, poor use of grammar and its rambling prose. but deserving of heeb magazine.

  7. Bernard Mendelbaum
    Bernard Mendelbaum

    Arik wrote, “further, mr. aron is far from chassidishe”

    I didn’t say he was chassidic. Leibby Kletzky was chassidic. See the payos in the picture?

    “in fact, according to various first hand reports he isnt religious at all.”

    You sick son of a bitch. The guy was a psycho-killer, and you and people like you are only interested in arguing that he wasn’t *really* Orthodox. Unreal.

  8. Sue

    I worked for over thirty years for agencies that had the mission of prevention of family violence, child abuse and sexual assault. I also served on a number of official commissions that dealt with those issues. Some of the other participants were representatives from the District Attorney’s Office and members of the police department.

    It is very common, after a violent crime is committed, to hear public condemnation of the victim. It is called “blaming the victim.” People try to single out some aspect of the victim’s behavior that might have caused them to be a target.

    This was commonly used against rape victims and is still sometimes heard. The underlying psychology seems to be “well, if I don’t ever make what supposed mistake the victim made I–or my loved ones–will never be the target of a criminal attack.”

    Obviously a child cannot be blamed for his or her victimization so the condemnation moves to the parents.

    The fact is that the parents in this case acted responsibly. Many other children of the victim’s age , in his neighborhood, walk to school or camp alone. The neighborhood is generally regarded as one of the safest in Brooklyn, even by law enforcement professionals. The child practiced the route home under his parent’s supervision.

    Sooner or later all children want and need some degree of independence. The age at which it is granted depends on individual circumstances. The fact that it was granted at a somewhat earlier age than some critics of the parents might choose does not mean the parents made an incorrect decision.

    I would like to remind those who criticize Leiby’s parents that Elizabeth Smart was abducted from her parent’s home in the middle of the night! In other words she was in the safest place imaginable but was still kidnapped. I would also like to remind them that the perpetrator of those horrible crime claims that he killed Leiby when he heard about the massive search for the child. Should there not have been such a search because this allegedly triggered the child’s death?

    As for speculation about whether Leiby was “autistic”–this is nothing but gossip. There is no evidence that he had any physical or mental challenges. Speculation on why he was holding his arm a certain way is meaningless.

    As for Viki’s suggestion that this case be referred to Child Protective Services, there is no evidence that any sort of child abuse or neglect took place. Allowing a child to walk a few blocks to day camp is not considered child abuse or neglect.

    Leiby’s parents are suffering the worst loss imaginable and will continue to suffer, because of this loss, for the rest of their lives. Their other children are also suffering terribly. My mother used to have a saying which some of you may also have heard from your parents or grandparents, “If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all!” I advise all of those who feel called upon to criticize Leiby’s parents to, instead, follow my mother’s very sound advice.

    And of course you may also be familiar with the Jewish law against harmful speech.

    No one is responsible for Leiby’s death except for the perpetrator of the crime. Please remember that and stop verbally attacking the victim’s family!

  9. vikki


    Of course my heard bleeds for these parents — we’re all in pain over this. Separately, the fact that Police Chief Ray Kelly would neither confirm or deny that the child had a learning impediment speaks volumes. Even still, my suggestion that the case be referred to a state agency was highly conditional. I am not making any assertion or accusation. Merely defending Heeb for raising the question.

  10. Vikkie


    Just saw your last comment, “Please remember that and stop verbally attacking the victim’s family!”

    Nobody attacked the family. Heeb raised a question—a valid question that would have explained some of the circumstances of his death, and why he was targeted. They were also not the only media outlet that did raise the question, as you would know if you listened to Ray Kelly’s press conference. I would ask you to stop being a knee-jerk reactionary. Nobody here is acting with any malice.

  11. Sue

    So “Vikkie” thinks I am acting like a “knee-jerk reactionary”(I am not sure what that is?) because I am asking that we avoid criticizing the victim’s parents? And apparently it is also “reactionary” to state that there is no way of knowing whether the victim had a mental or physical challenge unless we are told that is the case.

    I am also not sure why “Vikkie” states that “Heeb” raised a question.”Heeb” did not raise any questions about whether Leiby was autistic or had any other disabilities. The question was raised by some of the people who have posted, on this site, regarding the case.

    Ray Kelly was stating a fact when he said he didn’t know if Leiby was learning disabled. As Police Commissioner he can only state something is true if he knows, for certain, that it is true! Saying he doesn’t know cannot be construed as meaning it IS true!!!

    I will gladly accept the title of “knee jerk reactionary” if that means I am being accused of pleading that Leiby’s parents be given privacy and treated with compassion.

  12. Puck

    I’m not sure why we’re debating his having autism or not…how that’s relevant to the case is beyond me.
    Autistic children, depending on the severity of their symptoms, are certainly capable of walking home unescorted…to suggest otherwise indicates a rather profound lack of understanding of the symptoms.
    And frankly, kids get murdered all the time in the USA…if not having autism doesn’t protect you I fail to see why it would be an issue here.
    I have spoken.

  13. Sue

    Puck’s post is absolutely correct. Saying Leiby was autistic is another example of “blaming the victim.” In other words if Leiby was autistic and I am not–or my children are not–that means we will never be the victim of a crime! And, obviously that is not true. And as Puck points out, some autistic children are perfectly capable of walking home on their own. That doesn’t mean that children with certain disabilities are not sometimes singled out by pedophiles.
    However, we still don’t know if the perpetrator was a pedophile or was driven by severe mental illness.

    And it seems that he abducted Leiby as the result of a chance encounter. He would have had no idea as to whether Leiby was autistic or not–nor do we! And, as Puck said, it shouldn’t even be an issue.

  14. arik katzenberg

    obviously bernard’s reading comprehension skills are as shallow as this author’s writing skills. the crux of my argument hasnt a thing to do with mr. aron’s level of religious observance or lack thereof. i am meerly lamenting that heeb magazine, in yet another poor attempt to appear hip, irreverent and sensationalist, has chosen to speculate about the victim’s mental capacity as though it had any relevance to this matter whatsoever. if the writer of this article had a higher sensibility of emotional intelligence, he would’ve realised better fodder for sensationalistic reporting would be attempting an interview with the murderer’s parents or reporting on his father maintaining his job at the chassidishe owned B&H Photo or that the family is still welcome at thier shul. an even better article, tho not as cheap and bombastic as heeb prefers, would be the communal response to a missing child and contrasting it with the ‘amber alert’ that is typically used to find missing children in an appathetic community. but this author is too lazy to do that sort of leg work. he’d rather take a spurious roumour gleaned from some homebound blog writer and give it creedence in an attempt to avoid the research and deliberation that comes with responsible, hard nose reporting. maybe this author would better serve his readers by reporting for WWE Smackdown Wrestling Magazine

  15. Vikki or Vikkie, #whatthefuckisthedifference?


    “It is unclear why only a few news sources have reported that the boy suffered from autism.”

    In terms of journalistic convention, what you read above is a question. So is the qualifier in the title. Also, Sue, if you have a problem with pseudonyms being used in comments sections, why don’t you set a good example for all of us, and post your last name too, “Sue.” The fact is I go by a pseudonym because I work as a journalist for another outlet—another reason why I feel competent enough to evaluate that Heeb raised a fair question.

  16. Sue

    I am not going to engage in an endless personal discussion with Vikkie–I have no problem with whatever name she uses and didn’t mean to indicate that I did. As I reread the official “HEEB” posting I realized that the poster did make some reference to autism. Again, I think such speculation is pointless..whoever makes it.My concern is making sure that there is no “blame the victim” attitude displayed toward Leiby or his family. If Vikkie wants to make personal attacks on me because of that–it’s fine with me.

  17. Puck

    @ Arik
    “the religious community accepts all as equals and refrains from gossip-mongering, muckracking, baseless hatred and ostracizing”
    Wow. That’s some major bullshit. I mean, I’m from Australia and we have some mighty big cattle here, but they’ve got nothing to match the steaming pile of nonsense you’ve just dumped.
    ALL the religious community EVER does is ostracise, muckrake and whip up hatred against those different to themselves, and even sometimes ones who ARE like them (just not *enough* like them).
    Made me laugh so hard I nearly peed my pants XD
    I mean, don’t get me wrong, this article is absolutely bog standard shithouse tabloid shite that even Rupert Murdoch wouldn’t publish…but that doesn’t negate the fact, Arik, that you are an epic tool :P

  18. Ginny

    Perhaps too late for this comment, but my first thought when I heard the “autistic” description of Leibby uttered by a TV newscaster was maybe she had confused “chasidic” with “autistic”.

    Sounds bizarre, I know. Does this make any sense at all?

  19. Jeff

    Re: the relevance of whether or not Leiby was autistic –

    The Haredi community pressures couples to have large families, while at the same time it pressures them not to provide their children with secular educations, and to be mistrustful of secular authorities.

    As a result, parents frequently cannot care properly for or pay close attention to all of their children, and either wouldn’t be familiar with symptoms of autism, or might very well be unlikely to take seriously the opinion of a doctor who would suggest such a diagnosis.

    If Leiby was autistic, he probably shouldn’t have been allowed to walk home unattended. This isn’t an indictment of the parents so much as an indictment of the Haredi subculture.

    As for these remarks:

    “the religious community accepts all as equals and refrains from gossip-mongering, muckracking, baseless hatred and ostracizing”

    Right – try telling that to every Baal T’shuvah who was ever treated as a second-class citizen (in other words, most of them).

    “they will always be vulnerable to infiltration by the lowest denominator of society.”

    Uh huh. It isn’t the heilige yidden – it’s the perverts who are allowed to join their ranks because they’re so trusting. Do I have that right?

    You’re a moron, Arik.

  20. mary

    I am not Jewish but so saddened by the death of little Leiby, having an almost seven year old child. Everyone should stop arguing and pray for Leiby and his family. I don’t believe a child that young should walk home alone. No neighborhood is safe as this crimes proves. Rest in peace, Leiby.


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