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The New York man charged with murder in the death of an 8-year-old Hasidic boy whose dismembered body was found Wednesday in a freezer and a trash bin in Brooklyn reportedly has a history of suspicious behavior, the New York Post reports.
A woman who lives three doors down from Levi Aron, 35, the suspect in the murder of Leiby Kletzky, told the Post that Aron had unsuccessfully tried to kidnap her son within the past two years.
Zisa Berkowitz told the paper that she was able to scare him away from her son with her screams. “The story is true. We’re going through a lot of trauma here,” she said.
According to the paper, Berkowitz spoke to the New York Police Department hours after Aron was arrested Wednesday in connection with the murder of Leiby. Aron is undergoing psychiatric evaluation at Bellevue Hospital after his attorneys said he has hallucinations and hears voices.
More details about the man who allegedly suffocated and dismembered Leiby in his Brooklyn apartment, hiding his some of his remains in his refrigerator and a trash bin are emerging as people who knew Aron begin to come forward about his past.
Aron had married Debbie Kivel in Memphis in 2006, but divorced a year later when she filed a restraining order against him. “I’m more upset about that little boy and I can’t believe Levi could do anything like that,” she told MyFoxNy.com. Kivel has children of her own from a previous relationship.
She said that in 2008 Aron moved to Arkansas. Detectives are now reportedly checking to see if he had ties to any missing children in Memphis, but Kivel says they should be looking into the Little Rock area where he lived with his fiancée.
Kivel said he was engaged to a woman with children, but broke it off after a religious argument. Kivel said she never saw any signs of the accusations Aron faces now.
“I never heard from anyone in the community that there were any problems with him and that kid,” she told reporters about his relationship in Arkansas.
A former neighbor called him an “oddball” who would give children rides in cars.
The Post reports that a Facebook member told the iPad news publication The Daily that Aron had been on the site and commented that, “he likes Brooklyn more than Tennessee because there are more boys here.”
More sources told The Daily that Aron had gone after another boy about a week before the murder of Leiby. He reportedly stalked an 11-year-old boy in Borough Park. The boy was reportedly walking home on his block, “when he noticed a gold car was tailing him. He kept turning around, feeling suspicious, and kept noticing the car was there, so he broke into a run and quickly went home to tell his parents,” said the source.
A grainy surveillance video shows a man walking near Leiby just before 5 p.m. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the boy appeared to be lost and asked Aron for directions. He said the boy’s parents had agreed to let him walk seven blocks alone from his day camp to a location where he was supposed to meet his mother.
According to Kelly, the attack on Leiby was random. “It was just happenstance and the terrible fate for this young boy,” he said.
Kelly said approximately 35 minutes after the boy had left he was inside the suspect’s 1990 brown Honda Accord. Kelly said the suspect has made statements that indicated he brought the boy to his apartment where he killed him and dismembered his body.
Investigators tracked Aron with the help of surveillance video that showed him being approached by the lost boy.
Police then visited Aron’s third-story attic apartment at 2:40 a.m. Wednesday, where they found body parts believed to be the Leiby’s inside the man’s freezer.
“When detectives asked where the boy was, Aron nodded toward the kitchen,” Kelly said, adding that deputies then found a cutting board and large amounts of blood.
The rest of the body was found inside a red suitcase that had been tossed into a trash bin in another Brooklyn neighborhood, police said.
Kelly said statements made by the suspect indicate “he panicked and that’s why he killed the boy.”
The crime has rocked the tight-knit Orthodox community, which is described as “very safe.” “It’s an extremely safe area for children,” Rabbi Berish Frelich, a senior leader in Brooklyn’s Jewish community, told FoxNews.com
“This is devastating for everybody. Who would think of hurting an innocent young boy?” he added.
Thousands turned out to mourn Leiby Wednesday night in Borough Park. "Here lies my child. Purity of heart. Very quiet and very respectful. Satisfied and never demanding. My child is gone. I'm in very deep sorrow," Nachman Kletzky, Leiby's father, said in a speech at his son's funeral, the Post reported.
Leiby's parents and family members are observing the traditional Jewish seven-day mourning period known as shiva.
“We would also like to express to each and every individual – to our friends and neighbors and our fellow New Yorkers and to all the volunteers and all the agencies from the local, city, state and federal who assisted us above and beyond physically, emotionally and spiritually – and to all from around the world, who has us in their thoughts and prayers,” they said in a statement to reporters.
“From the depths of our mourning hearts, THANK YOU!” it concluded. The family also has four daughters.
FoxNews.com's Cristina Corbin contributed to this report.