Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Chaim Weiss

Real Name: Chaim Weiss
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Long Beach, New York
Date: November 1, 1986


Details: On the morning of November 1, 1986, a fifteen-year-old Jewish boy named Chaim Weiss was found murdered in his school dormitory in Long Beach, New York. He was an Orthodox Jew who lived in the dormitory of his yeshiva, a school that emphasizes the religious and ethical principles of Orthodox Judaism.
Detective Don Daly was called to the scene. He learned that Chaim had died from being struck violently in the back of his head with an unknown object. There appeared to be no evidence of robbery nor signs of a struggle. From the beginning, Daly knew that this investigation would be different.
Because it was Saturday, the Sabbath, Daly was unable to question many of the students and teachers at the school. As the days went on, many were still reluctant to talk to him or the other investigators.
In Chaim's room, several clues were found to suggest that his killer was familiar with the yeshiva and the customs of Orthodox Judaism. It appeared that he had been killed while he slept. His body was then moved twice, from the bed to the floor, and then from one spot on the latter to another. In Orthodox customs, it was necessary for his body to be taken off the bed and onto the floor, so that it is at its lowest and coolest point.
Chaim's window was left open, even though it was cold outside. Orthodox traditions requires a door or window to be open in the room of a deceased person, in order to let the spirit out. After Chaim's murder, a memorial candle was placed in his room and it was sealed. Two days later, however, another one mysteriously appeared. No one admitted to placing it there.
Detective Daly tried to piece together the last night of Chaim's life. He learned that he was an outgoing student who did well in class. He had attended the yeshiva for the past two years. On the night of October 31, he left class with his friends to attend services. Afterwards, he returned to the dormitory. Several hours later, two of his classmates saw him reading in the hall. This was customary, as students did not leave lights on in their rooms on the Sabbath. He was last seen alive at 1 am on November 1.
Although no students reported hearing anything suspicious around the time of Chaim's murder, one did remember his door being quickly opened and closed at some point. At the time, he assumed that it was just his roommate.
A few days after Chaim's murder, Daly called a meeting with the students and some of the rabbis, asking for any information about this case. However, nobody offered any information. Daly learned that their religion prevented them from coming forward unless they had evidence or another witness to back up their claims.
Police eventually polygraphed forty students and several of the teachers and rabbis. However, no useful information was found. Detective Daly and Chaim's family are still hoping that someone will now come forward. Sadly, this case has never been solved.
Suspects: None known; evidence found at the scene suggests that Chaim's killer was familiar with Orthodox traditions. It is believed that the killer also knew the layout of the dormitory. The killer was probably aware that Chaim was one of only two students without a roommate.
Police are looking for information about a yeshiva student who was apparently seen on a boardwalk at 7am on the morning of Chaim's murder. A jogger noticed him and felt that he was out of place there. He was never identified, and it is unknown if he was involved in Chaim's murder.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the May 6, 1992 episode.
Results: Unsolved. Investigators looked into a former janitor at the school, along with a mentally ill man who attacked senior citizens in their homes near the yeshiva in 1986. However, both men were ruled out. In 2013, this case was reopened by investigators. They interviewed more than 100 former students, but reportedly made little progress in the investigation. In 2015, they announced that they believe a student or faculty member was responsible for Chaim's murder. However, they have yet to identify any suspects.
In November 2017, Chaim's father, Anton, was interviewed by a news station and recalled several bizarre incidents prior to his murder. In July 1986, he had called him from summer camp. He was crying and saying that he wanted to come home. According to Anton, this was very out of character for him. In August, he went to visit his grandparents in Europe. During this time, the yeshiva's principal, Rabbi Avrom Cooper, called Anton several times, asking when Chaim would be back home. He felt that this was suspicious. On another occasion, Cooper had Anton bring Chaim to his home to talk with him alone. After doing so for about ten minutes, he returned to Anton. However, he was reluctant to talk about the meeting.
Anton suspects that Cooper may have information about Chaim's murder. Some have speculated that he may have been involved. A former student has since come forward, claiming that he had been physically abused by a rabbi. He claimed that Cooper did nothing to stop the abuse. The alleged abuse occurred approximately ten years prior to Chaim's murder. Despite the allegations, no one has been charged in this case.