Police identify woman found burning with hands cut off after 20 years

San Diego, California: More than 20 years after Sgt. Ronnie Philhower responded to a call of a burning body behind College Avenue Baptist Church at 12:15 pm on January 24, 2000, police have a name for the victim and are seeking the public's assistance in determining who killed her.


20-year-old Nichole Weis was originally from Michigan but lost contact with her family when she moved to Los Angeles in the late 1990s.


By utilizing a public repository of DNA profiles, compiled from those seeking to determine familial connections, investigators were able to locate a half-brother by the name of Glen Stevenson.


From that connection, investigators located Kimberly Beach in Michigan who was able to confirm that she had a biological sister that had gone missing in California.


"We obtained Kimberly Beach's DNA, and compared it to Jane Doe," Detective Lori Adams said in a video produced by the department about the case. "It verified they are biological siblings. We now had Jane Doe's real name: Nicole Weis."


Nicole's body was found bound in cardboard and by the time San Diego fire was able to extinguish the flames, her body had been "burned beyond recognition." An autopsy determined that she had been strangled and stabbed multiple times, with her hands and a portion of her left calf ultimately being removed.


Anyone with information on the case is asked to call SDPD's Homicide Unit at (619) 531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477 if they wish to remain anonymous.