"There's somebody out there that knows a secret," said Lt. John Azzata, commander of the Nassau County Police homicide squad. "I'm looking for that person to give me that secret."
Flanked by the victim's father, county officials announced Tuesday they were increasing the reward for information leading to the arrest of Chaim Weiss' killer from $5,000 to $25,000. The announcement came at a press conference intended to spark renewed interest in the case, Azzata said, adding that police have already begun to receive telephone tips.
Interest in the case has faded in the more than quarter century since. NBC's "Unsolved Mysteries" featured it in the early 1990s and articles about the killing have appeared in various publications, but police have yet to unravel the mystery.
Weiss was described at the time as a bright student. He was found bludgeoned to death in his room at a religious school in Long Beach, a Long Island community east of New York City, after he failed to show up for morning prayers.
The Nov. 1, 1986, slaying shocked the Orthodox Jewish community and from the beginning, police have acknowledged having no suspects.
There were no signs that anyone broke into the room.
It was later revealed that the victim's body had been moved to the floor from his bed, where he is believed to have been slain with a sharp, blunt object. Also, a window in the dormitory room was left open despite late autumn temperatures that hovered in the low 40s. Some have suggested the moving of the body and the opening of the window were somehow related to the young man's religious faith.
On Tuesday, chief of detectives Rick Capece specifically addressed the Jewish community, saying that detectives were aware that witnesses may be reticent to suggest those who may have been involved in the killing without having "positive proof" of their involvement.
"We are sensitive to and respect that belief," Capece said. "However a homicide has occurred and we need any information that can help us solve this case and bring justice and peace to the Weiss family."
Anton Weiss, the boy's father, spoke briefly at Tuesday's news conference but declined to answer any reporter questions, citing a desire to protect his family's privacy.
He noted his son's classmates would be in their early 40s by now.
"His classmates by now are married, are parents on their own and understand what it means to be a parent," 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."
Associated Press researcher Monika Mathur in New York contributed to this report.