(JTA) — Thousands of people turned out for the funeral of Leiby Kletzky, the 8-year-old Chasidic boy in Brooklyn found murdered and dismembered after having disappeared two days earlier.
Wednesday night’s funeral in the neighborhood of Borough Park came on the same day as his body was discovered and a suspect was arrested in his murder, and it followed a full-community manhunt for the boy after he went missing while walking home from day camp.
At the funeral, Leiby’s father, his principal and synagogue rabbi praised the boy’s devotion to his studies and prayer and warned parents to look out for their children. Several called the death God’s will, according to reports.
Leiby’s disappearance set off a massive search that included hundreds of volunteers and involved a huge mobilization of the area’s Orthodox community.
New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said at a news conference that police believe the boy asked the suspect, Levi Aron, for directions and entered his car. Police say they do not believe the boy knew Aron, who when confronted by police reportedly led them to the body parts he had stashed in his freezer and in a trash bin a couple of miles away. Police charged Aron with second-degree murder.