Nassau County, NY – 31 years after his son was brutally murdered in his yeshiva dormitory, the father of the slain teen has finally given his first public interview in the hopes that someone will come forward with new information.
As previously reported on VIN News (http://bit.ly/2mQD2Qt) 15 year old Chaim Weiss of Staten Island was bludgeoned to death on Halloween night 1986 in his room at the Torah High School in Long Beach.
Authorities said that Weiss’s body was moved from his bed to the floor after his death and that someone had lit a yahrtzeit candle in Weiss’ room, where a window had been left open despite the cold temperatures.
Weiss’s father, Anton, has revealed for the first time to PIX 11 News (http://bit.ly/2mPossB) that several unusual incidents had taken place in the months leading up to his son’s murder.
Chaim had called home from camp crying in July, saying that he wanted to come home, the first such call Chaim had ever made to his parents. Weiss said that just weeks later, yeshiva principal Rabbi Avrom Cooper called on two separate occasions, asking to speak to Chaim who was away in Europe visiting his grandparents. When Chaim returned home, his parents drove him to Borough Park to speak to Rabbi Cooper.
“He told us to send Chaim in, to wait outside,” said Weiss, who noted Chaim never shared details of the ten minute conversation with him.
When confronted recently by a PIX 11 reporter outside his Lakewood home and questioned why Weiss might have called home from camp, Rabbi Cooper said that he didn’t know anything. Asked about his meeting with Chaim later that summer in his home, Rabbi Cooper refused to respond, walking into his house and closing the door.
Weiss said that he had another disturbing encounter with Rabbi Cooper that took place during a lawsuit filed he filed charging the yeshiva with failing to adequately protect his son. According to Weiss, Rabbi Cooper suggested that perhaps Weiss’s bad deeds could have been the cause of the family’s misfortune.
“It shocks me to today,” said Weiss. “What do you think? I stole something? I did something? I killed something?”
Having ruled out a janitor who left the school shortly after the Weiss murder, a mentally ill drifter and the possibility that Chaim’s death could have been a Halloween prank gone horribly wrong, police believe that the murderer was someone associated with the school.
Rabbi Yeruchom Pitter, who was the yeshiva’s dean in 1986 and is still employed by the school, said that the Nassau County Police Department spent over a full year interviewing everyone who might have contact with Chaim. His wife Reena told PIX 11 that their family believed that the murderer was one of the janitors.
Former Long Beach student Eli Kushner said that Chaim appears to have been targeted. Chaim’s third floor room, where he was just one of two students in the yeshiva who had no roommates, was difficult to access.
“They must have known exactly where this kid was because you had to go through a lot of different rooms to find him and you had to pass a lot of kids to get to this kid,” said Kushner. “This wasn’t some Halloween prank. This was somebody trying to get back at the family or get back at the kid.”
Kushner recalled the chaos that ensued in the dormitory when Chaim’s body was discovered on that fall Shabbos morning.
“The dorm counselor found him,” said Kushner, who later passed a lie detector test administered by detectives investigating the case. “I remember him telling everyone, ‘Get out of here. We got to call the cops!’”
Kushner said that students were forbidden to talk to anyone until after Shabbos. The fact that no one has still come forward with any information has not gone over well with Nassau County Police Department.
“How could this happen and nobody hear or say anything? Somebody’s got a secret,” observed Captain John Azzata of the Nassau County Police Department at a 2015 press conference.
Weiss said that he is hoping that someone will come forward with new information in the case.
“His soul’s not resting until we know what happened,” said Weiss. “My heart cries for Chaim constantly.”
Detectives at the Nassau County Police Department did not immediately return calls for comment on the matter.
Anyone with any information on the Weiss murder is asked to call the NCPD at 1-800-244-TIPS.