Nassau County, NY – It’s been nearly three decades since 15-year-old yeshiva student Chaim Weiss was bludgeoned to death with a “hatchet-like weapon” in his Yeshiva of Long Beach dormitory on Long Island.
Law enforcement authorities reopened the cold case three years ago and interviewed 100 former students, but still came up empty as to who was responsible for the heinous and cold blooded murder that took place on Halloween night 29 years ago.
“It’s one that has really stuck with me,” retired Detective Robert Edwards told the Daily News.
“He was sleeping in his room, a place that is supposed to be safe.” Edwards said some 140 students were initially interviewed when the crime was first committed, but they all “lawyered up” and claimed they didn’t know what happened. “We got nothing,” Edwards recalled.
Yeshiva administrators went to check on Weiss after he did not attend Sabbath morning prayers on November 1, 1986, and discovered his body. His skull was crushed from the blunt force trauma he had sustained to the head. The murder weapon was never recovered.
Weiss’ Staten Island-based parents are still distraught by the loss of their son and are hoping for answers.
His father, Anton, visits Chaim’s grave every year before the anniversary of his murder. He also routinely meets with the Nassau County police captain who is assigned to the case.
Police have said there were several strange things about the way the body was discovered. His body had been moved to the floor, a window had been opened in the room, and a memorial candle was placed in the room – all rituals in accordance with Jewish tradition.
Weiss was one of only two students who didn’t have a roommate, and there was no sign of a struggle or anything missing from the room.
Investigators have ruled out initial suspects, including a mentally ill man, Halloween pranksters, and a janitor. The police now believe the murder was committed by a fellow student or a faculty member.
“How could this happen and nobody hear or say anything? Somebody’s got a secret,” said Nassau County Police Capt. John Azzata.
Azzata said police still plan to interview another 100 former students again, in the hopes that maturity may have changed their minds about speaking up.
“People are aware of what transpired back then and you’d hope with maturity they’d come forward now,” Azzata said. “That hasn’t happened yet.”