Editor’s Note: Readers may find the details of the case troubling.
SAN DIEGO (KSWB) – More than 20 years after his body was found tied up and on fire in a church parking lot, police identified the victim in a gruesome murder in San Diego.
The authorities are also launching a new call for answers in his cold case.
Officers discovered the body of then 20-year-old Nicole Weis on January 24, 2000. She was found with her hands severed and wrapped in cardboard, which was tied around her body with a rope, then set on fire in the parking lot of the Baptist Church on College Avenue.
An artist created a rendering of the victim’s face in hopes someone would recognize the young woman, but she went unidentified – considered a ‘Jane Doe’ for nearly two decades.
In 2019, police brought in Barbara Rae-Venter, a leading investigative genetic genealogy researcher, who worked with a team of detectives to upload a Weis DNA sample to a database. ancestry data. Eventually the team found a match: Weis’ half-brother Glen Stevenson.
“I was adopted when I was a kid. And, growing up, I always had ideas about whether or not I should go looking for my biological family, ”Stevenson said, in a video produced by SDPD.
Now an adult, Stevenson had uploaded his information to a database in hopes of learning more about his family. When the police contacted him, he got some of the information he was looking for, although he was horrified to learn of his half-sister’s fate. “It was a wild and shocking way to find out more about my family,” Stevenson said.
This DNA link to Stevenson opened up new possibilities for investigators to trace Weis back to his family, and the SDPD was ultimately able to trace the family tree to another blood relative: Kimberly Beach, Weis’ sister. Originally from Michigan, Beach told police she knew and loved her sister, but said by the late 1990s Weis moved to the West Coast and eventually lost contact with family.
“When my sister was killed, I would have been a month before I was 26,” Beach told SDPD in an interview. “But when I found out she had been killed, I was a month under 46.”
In sharing Weis’ story, police did not go into detail about what they learned about the victim’s life at the time of her murder, or why she lost contact with her family. . But in an emotional plea, Beach urged anyone with information to come forward and said she wanted the world to know her sister deserved justice.
“I want people to know my sister was a beautiful girl,” Beach said tearfully. “Because I miss her. I miss her.”
Now armed with Weis’ identity, investigators hope to uncover new leads in his case, which has long since turned cold. Police urged anyone who might have information about his murder to reach out, but also called more generally for interviews with anyone who knows Weis.
Informants can contact the department’s Homicide Unit at 619-531-2293, or report tips anonymously to San Diego County Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477, or through their website.