LONG BEACH – The Nassau County Police Department reopened the case of Chaim Weiss, the 15-year-old rabbinical student found stabbed and beaten to death nearly 27 years ago. Weiss was found dead in his dormitory room at a Long Beach Orthodox Jewish Yeshiva on Nov. 1, 1986. There were no signs of a struggle or forced entry, which led police to believe that the killer had intimate knowledge of the dormitory layout and Weiss’ habits.
The NCPD announced Tuesday that an additional $20,000 would be offered to anyone with information leading to the arrest of Weiss’ killer, bringing the total reward to $25,000.
Det. Lt. John Azzata, commander of the NCPD homicide squad, made a statement regarding the current investigation.
“There’s somebody out there that knows a secret. I’m looking for that person to give me that secret.”
Anton Weiss, the victim’s father, also stood beside police at Tuesday’s press conference and pleaded for those with information to come forward.
“I’m reaching out to the public and appealing to anyone, his friends, schoolmates and classmates, who by now are married, are parents of their own, and understand what it means to be a parent.”
An episode of Unsolved Mysteries, originally airing in the early 1990s outlined several peculiar details concerning Weiss’ case. Speculation pointed toward an anti-Semitic motive, yet further information revealed that the killer was knowledgeable about Orthodox Jewish customs. Investigators gathered that Weiss’ body had been moved twice after the slaying and eventually positioned on the floor. His dormitory window had also been opened despite chilly November temperatures, and a candle was left burning in the room. Such actions suggested ritualistic behavior common in the Orthodox faith.
The original homicide investigation was hindered due to the fact that students and faculty were reluctant to share any information with detectives. Newsday circa 1993 reported that Det. Don Daly, a veteran member of the Nassau County homicide squad, aided in interviewing hundreds of students and faculty, yet no suspects or motives were uncovered at the time.
“We learned at one point that, in their particular religion, unless you have proof or another witness, mere suspicion alone is not enough to go and say anything or to accuse somebody,” Daly was reported saying on the Unsolved Mysteries website.
After Tuesday’s press conference, the NCPD is hopeful that a fresh take and increased monetary reward will unearth new information and eventually lead to an arrest in the Weiss killing. Chief of detectives Rick Capece addressed the Jewish community during the conference, reiterating the NCPD’s understanding and sensitivity toward implicating others without positive proof.
“We are sensitive to and respect that belief. However a homicide has occurred and we need any information that can help us solve this case and bring justice and peace to the Weiss family.”