Brooklyn Boy's Killer Could Have Been Stopped

BrooklynAs more bizarre details come out about Levi Aron, the man charged with abducting Brooklyn boy Leiby Kletzky, smothering him, then dismembering his body, one thing becomes clear. It really does take a village to protect our kids. If someone along this treacherous path had stepped in, the little boy might be alive to see his 9th birthday.

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What's chilling about this case for most parents is the fact that little Leiby was allowed to walk home from day camp precisely because his parents trusted in the village mentality. Living in a close-knit Orthodox Jewish section of Brooklyn, it wasn't the New York City that people who live in far flung places think of. It was a place where a mom felt OK that a dry run with her kid should have prepped him for that walk home, where she thought he could turn to a neighbor on the 7-block walk. Just 7 blocks. He should have been safe. He could have been safe if people had stepped in any time along the way:

After Aron's Divorce: Aron's ex-wife Deborah Kivel has said he was both mentally and physically abusive to her during their marriage. It ended the marriage, but the violence should have put him on police radar, especially considering she had an order of protection against him.

When He Started Hearing Voices: Lawyers for the alleged killer now say he has been "hearing voices" and suffering from hallucinations for quite some time. And no one in his family acted on that? Tried to get him help? Nothing?

When He Put Leiby In His Car: Neighbors called Aron creepy, but apparently no one stepped in when they saw him putting this little boy in his car. Perhaps no one was around to see it, but this was a busy Brooklyn neighborhood . . . someone had to be out and about.

At the Wedding in Monsey: Aron claims he took the little boy to a wedding in upstate Monsey after the lost child approached him on the street, asking for directions. In and of itself, that decision is bizarre. But what's even more striking is that no one at this supposed wedding did anything about a strange boy hanging out with him. No one asked who the kid was? No one said, well, let's call his parents . . . pronto? REALLY?

Back at Aron's Apartment: Aron lived in the attic of his parents' house. In addition to his Mom and Dad, who live on the ground floor, there were tenants living in the building. And no one noticed that this guy who neighbors described as "creepy" had brought home a child? No one investigated?

The fact is, we all tend to look the other way when we're a little suspicious, because who wants to be the boat rocker? Who wants to tangle with a creepy guy? Who wants to be the one who mistakenly questioned a kid's dad, thinking he was abducting a stranger? It may be too late to revisit the "what ifs" in the Leiby Kletzky case -- we can't bring him back -- but looking back at the warning signs along the way should empower us all to act when we feel a little iffy about something ... even when it's uncomfortable.

 

Image via phvolmer/Flickr

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