15-Year-Old Chaim Weiss Was Found Murdered, Possibly With A Hatchet

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Who would kill a rabbinical student in his bed, in cold blood – and why?

The mystery has haunted police detectives in Nassau County for more than a quarter century, and on Tuesday night, a new effort was launched to find the killer, CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported.

The victim’s family also launched an appeal to now-grown Long Beach classmates to come forward.

Chaim Weiss was found murdered on Nov. 1, 1986. Police said the 15-year-old was stabbed to death in his sleep at the Mesivta of Long Beach.

No weapon was ever recovered, but authorities believe the killer may have used a hatchet, 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reported.

Authorities said at the time there were no signs of forced entry into the building, robbery or sexual assault.

The dorm was filled with students, and nobody reported hearing a struggle. A memorial candle was lit in the bedroom and a window was found open on that cold November morning, suggesting that someone familiar with Jewish tradition may have been responsible.

Twenty-six and a half years later, it is still hard for Anton Weiss to talk about the murder. But he is joining Nassau County police in asking for help.

“I’m reaching out to the public and appealing to anyone — his friends, classmates and schoolmates,” Anton Weiss said.

Anton Weiss and Nassau County police have launched an appeal for information.

“(Chaim’s) friends, schoolmates and classmates by now are married, are parents on their own and understand what it means to be a parent,” Anton Weiss said.

“I am appealing to you and urging you in the strongest way, if you have any information that you feel the police might need in this murder investigation, I ask you, I urge you, to please contact the police department,” Weiss added.

Anton Weiss, father of Chaim Weiss, at Nassau Police Headquarters in Mineola, appeals for new information in son's 1986 murder case. (credit: Mona Rivera/1010 WINS)

Anton Weiss, father of Chaim Weiss, at Nassau Police Headquarters in Mineola, appeals for new information in son’s 1986 murder case. (credit: Mona Rivera/1010 WINS)

Nassau Det. Lt. John Azzata, head of the Homicide Squad, said he believes the killer was from the Orthodox community or knew its customs – given the presence of the candle and the open window.

“It has to do with the religion – the soul leaving the room,” he said.

The timing of the murder, on the night of Halloween, raised the specter of a bias crime.

For decades, there was speculation, but no arrest. Custodial staff, faculty and students were questioned.

Now the reward has been raised from $5,000 to $25,000, and there is hope that time has weighed on consciences.

“There is someone out there that knows a secret,” Azzata said. “I’m looking for someone to give me that secret.”

A special appeal is being made to the Orthodox Jewish community.

“It’s imperative in Jewish law to speak out and to bring those who are culpable to justice,” said Nassau Police Chaplain Rabbi Dov Schwartz.

Chaim Weiss would be in his early 40s now. His family hopes they will now help them find justice.

Meanwhile, police plan to re-interview everyone in the dorm, and now have DNA technology not available in 1986.

Anyone with information is asked to call Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS, log onto the county Crime Stoppers Web site, or text code word NCCS and a tip to CRIMES (274637.)

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