A boy of eight who vanished while walking home in one of the safest parts of New York was killed and dismembered by a stranger he had turned to for help after getting lost.
An intense search for Leiby Kletzky ended with the discovery of pieces of his body inside the home of a man who had been seen with him around the time he disappeared, police said.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the 35-year-old suspect, Levi Aron, made statements implicating himself in the boy's death. Formal charges are pending. The investigation continued, and Mr Kelly said Aron was still being interviewed by detectives.
When detectives arrived at the man's attic apartment they asked him where the boy was and he nodded toward the kitchen, Kelly said.
Detectives saw blood on the freezer door and they opened it to discover bloody knives, a cutting board and feet inside.
The rest of the body was found inside a red suitcase that had been tossed into a bin in another Brooklyn neighbourhood, police said.
Police and volunteers had been looking since late Monday afternoon for Leiby, who disappeared while on his way to meet his mother.
The break in the case came when investigators focused on a grainy surveillance video that showed the boy, wearing his backpack, walking down the street with a man.
Detectives noticed the man on going into a nearby dentist's office as the boy stood outside, Mr Kelly said. The dentist said he remembered someone coming by to pay a bill for a patient, and police were able to identify Aron using records from the office.
Leiby was one of the neighbourhood's many Hasidic Jews, an ultra-Orthodox people who live in tight-knit, somewhat insular communities and abide by strict religious rules that require men to wear dark clothing that includes a long coat and a fedora-type hat. Men often have long beards and ear locks.