Yesterday, I heard the tragic news of Leiby Kletzky's murder. For any of you who haven't heard the story...8 year old Leiby was reported missing Monday. He was walking home alone from day camp for the first time and was supposed to meet his mother seven blocks away. Apparently he got lost and asked a stranger for help. What happened next is sad, scary, tragic, heart wrenching.
The stranger was Levi Aron, 35, who spent 12 hours with him (including taking him to a wedding) before smothering and dismembering him. Pieces of his body were found inside Levi's home early Wednesday morning.
Investigators were able to track him with the help of a surveillance video that showed him approaching the boy. The video showed him walking with the boy to a local dentist office. Police were able to identify Aron using records from the office.
According to Aron's statement to police the following happened...Leiby asked Aron for a ride to a local bookstore then lost interest. Aron then invited him to go to a wedding in Monsey, NJ and ,allegedly, Leiby agreed. They returned to Aron's place after 11pm where they watched television and then went to bed. He says he was going to return Leiby home the next day. However, after seeing posters up of the missing boy Aron panicked and killed the him.
My heart aches for his parents. They said that Leiby had begged to be allowed to walk home from camp. Many mothers of the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Borough Park said they felt their neighborhood was safe for a child Leiby's age to walk home alone. It is known as one of NYC's safest neighborhoods.
I had heard about the boy's disappearance and was praying for his safe return. As I listened to the details come out on the news I was horrified. I sat there in stunned silence staring at the television screen. Tears rolling down my cheeks. How can people do such horrific things to anyone, let alone a child?!. A child for God's sake! There is no reason to butcher a child. You panicked?! Well you should have never had the child in your possession. He was not your child to take. He was lost and asked you for help. How dare you take advantage of a scared, helpless child. I don't care that he supposedly agreed to go with you anywhere. You had no right! As an adult this child was trusting to help him, you should have done just that. You should have walked him to where his mother was waiting for him.
His parents will forever blame themselves for allowing him an ounce of independence. They should not be mourning the death of their son. They did nothing wrong but try to give him a bit of independence. I will not judge them for that.
Sadly, I do not trust people in general. I learned from an early age that their is darkness and evil outside in the world and you have to be on your guard. It doesn't matter how safe your neighborhood or community is or who your family and friends are, there is always that one person out there ready to betray your trust. It's sad, but true. I err on the side of caution with my children. I am definitely overprotective when it comes to certain things. Our school is two and a half blocks away. My son (almost 9) wants to walk to school by himself. I have told him no way and my husband is in agreement. I told him I would not embarrass him by making him walk with me and his sister but he must walk in front of me where I can see him. I would rather be overly cautious and know he is coming home tonight. I have heard too many horror stories, including those of children being snatched from their door step. My parents live on the other side of our two family house. My kids know they are to go through the back doors. They re only allowed to use the front doors if an adult is with them or watching them. I am ever vigilante. Some may say I go too far, but I say that is my choice. I will give them small doses of controlled independence. I will not smother them but I will teach them safety in a cruel world.
I am glad my children have not seen or heard about this tragedy. My son is extremely sensitive when it comes to this sort of news and would have nightmares for a long time. I teach them safety and caution but I can not bear for them to hear this news. I do not want to emotionally scarred. They know about reality but I do not believe they need to hear the gruesome details played out in technicolor on the news.
May God watch over this boys parents and family. May he help them find some kind of comfort and peace. I pray that Leiby is resting in peace. I pray his suffering was minimal. I can't stop crying over this tragic loss.
Once again, we are reminded to hold our children closer, be more patient and show them more how much we love them. Please, go give your child(ren) a hug and tell them you will always love them.