Levi Aron, the suspect who police say confessed to snatching an 8-year-old boy off the street before suffocating him and dismembering his body, had no previous arrests other than a summons for public urination.
The suspect, who turned 35 on Wednesday, grew up in Brooklyn and was working at Empire State Supply Company while living in the third-floor attic of his parents' house, officials said.
Coworkers said Wednesday that he showed up for work as usual on Tuesday and seemed fine. The boy disappeared Monday evening.
Aron had lived in Memphis, Tenn., for about two years, where he worked as a security guard, police said.
"We are looking at his record, we're trying to determine any previous conduct," Police Commissioner Ray said.
Aron's ex-wife, Debbie Kivel, who knew him in Tennessee, told the New York Post that she was stunned by the allegations.
"I am in shock. I am not believing this," she said. "He loved children. He loved kids. My kids are now 13 and 10, but when we were married they were younger -- and he loved them."
She said they married in 2006 and split in 2007 over a "clash of character."
His former father-in-law, Michael Kivel, told the Post that Aron is a "creepy person."
Aron told police in a lengthy confession that when he encountered 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky on Monday afternoon, the child was lost and asked him for directions. He brought the boy to his apartment, police said, and spent "several hours" with him.
Then, as he heard the missing reports and the growing investigation, he "panicked" and killed the child, Kelly said.
The boy's remains were found Wednesday; some in Aron's refrigerator and some in a Dumpster a few miles away.
Kelly said investigators do not believe he knew the boy before they ran into each other on the street.
Aron was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday.