LONG BEACH — Halloween night had come and gone, when a student made a gruesome discovery on the morning of November 1, 1986 at the Yeshiva dorm at 63 Beech Street in Long Beach. The dorm was connected to Torah High School.
Chaim Weiss, 15, the son of a jewelry salesman, was dead on the floor in his single-bed dorm room, his head bludgeoned with a hatchet-like weapon. Crime scene evidence suggested the body had been moved from the bed to the floor.
“The cops came to me and said Chaim had been injured,” the teen’s father, Anton Weiss, recalled in a recent interview in the fall of 2017.
Nearly 32 years later, the brutal murder remains unsolved, yet there’s no shortage of theories as to motive.
People inside and outside the insular Orthodox Jewish community have speculated revenge, anger, jealousy or a desire to protect secrets could have played a role in the shocking crime. School administrators suggested a former janitor who went back to Europe was a possible culprit.
After PIX11 revisited the case in November 2017, we received a call—and a copy of a letter—from Simmy Weber, who said he was a student at Torah High School of Long Beach in 1976-77.
Weber said he was 14 years old then, but only survived a year there, because of what he called systemic abuse imposed by one rabbi who “beat me up on a regular basis, including punching, kicking, and twisting of the ear.”
Weber blamed the former principal for allowing the abuse to exist during his tenure. This was 10 years before Chaim Weiss was killed in the yeshiva dorm.
PIX11 also learned that a student hanged himself in a dorm shower several years before the Chaim Weiss murder.
The dean’s wife—Reena Pitter—still lives with her husband across from the yeshiva and remembers the suicide.
“He wasn’t in the school very long,” Mrs. Pitter said, “and he had some problems. He was really depressed and it was very tragic.”
With this dark past in mind, we asked the Nassau County Police Homicide Commander, Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick, if we could speak to him about the teen’s unsolved murder.
Lt. Fitzpatrick told PIX11 detectives had received new tips since our first report on the Mystery aired in November 2017.
“Everybody is considered ‘open’ right now,” the Commander said about potential suspects, both inside and outside the yeshiva world. “We’ll look at everybody.”
PIX11 took a 2 1/2 hour drive upstate to Ulster County to see Camp Horim, where Chaim Weiss spent time every summer. Chaim’s father had told PIX11 Chaim called him, crying on the phone, in July 1986, asking to come home.
Anton Weiss was away on vacation and told his son he would see him soon.
The dad said Chaim seemed fine when he visited the teen a short time later.
Later in the summer, Chaim visited his grandparents in Europe and Anton Weiss said the principal called the family home twice, seeking to set up a meeting with Chaim.
The parents said Chaim didn’t want to talk about what was discussed in his private meeting with the principal at a Brooklyn home. Chaim returned to the Long Beach yeshiva. He was killed in the early hours of November 1, 1986.