I can't get this out of my mind.
Last night, while a classmate was driving me home from an English class I'm taking at Brooklyn College, we noticed a large group of people, patrolling the street, passing out flyers, and walking up to parked cars. They were desperately looking for an eight year old boy who had gone missing on Monday night.
In a story hauntingly similar to the disappearance of Etan Patz, Leiby Kletzy wanted to walk home from school by himself. So on Monday his parent's let him and he never came home. By Tuesday morning the entire neighborhood was on the lookout. Flyers were posted everywhere, and local blogs were posting pictures. The community was offering a $100,000 reward for his safe return.
While I was walking to the bus this morning, I must have passed at least ten flyers posted on lamposts, and store fronts. But it was already too late. Leiby's body was found in a refrigerator in an attic aparment of 35 Levi Aron, just a few blocks from where I live. I have passed this house a thousand times. Leiby had gotten lost and asked the wrong man for directions. Somehow Levi Aron had lured Leiby into his apartment panicked when he heard that the police and the entire community was looking for the little boy and smothered him to death. He then cut the boys body to bits and dumped some remains in Borough park. What haunts me most is the idea that this little boy was still alive while his family and neighbors were frantically looking for him.
I know killings like this happen. They probably happen too often. But it's different when it happens in your neighborhood. I've lived in Kensington off and on since 1999. I have always found the people to be nice. I've always felt safe here. Even after beling burglarized twice in 2006, I still felt secure. I wonder if I have passed Levi Aron on the street, if I have seen him on the bus or in the grocery store? I wonder if I ever saw him, would I be able to sense he was capable of commiting such a senseless and heinous crime? Would someone so sinister be that obvious? Would he have smiled at me? Would I have smiled at him?
I don't think I'm going to sleep very well tonight.