Long Island serial killer: How a 59-year-old architect was arrested 

Long Island serial killer: Rex Heuermann has been charged with the murder of three young women and is the only suspect for that of a fourth. 

They had been found 13 years ago in the same place in the same position. The mystery remains for seven other remains found in the vicinity.

On the road to the very chic Hamptons, Rex Heuermann was only one neighbor among others, more suspicious. The police barely knew of a theft of clementines and a history of tax problems, but not of those that one exposes to one’s entourage in front of a barbecue.

Nothing allowed to say that he brought in young escorts when his wife left on the move, nor that he killed them afterwards.

Now, this 59-year-old man is behind bars, heavily suspected of having killed several times , and of being the “serial killer of Long Island“? Of the eleven bodies abandoned in 16 years on the south shore of Long Island, 75 km from Manhattan, and whose death has never been resolved, the investigators already attribute to him the responsibility for three of the “Gilgo four  .

Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman, Amber Costello and Maureen Brainard-Barnes… These four women had several things in common: young, short, living outside New York, they prostituted themselves and offered their services on the Craiglist site, an American ancestor of the ” Right corner “. 

Their remains were found two days apart in December 2010 in a 450 m pocket handkerchief, in the maze of brambles and bushes that tops the dune and separates the long straight road from the beach.

They were all discovered “in the same position, tied in the same way, by belts or tape, and three of them wrapped in a burlap-like material” such as that used by hunters, a explained at a press conference the prosecutor Ray Tierney. 

Their murders remained unsolved and no arrests had been made. Until two days ago.

In 2011, Suffolk County police were trying to elucidate the quadruple discovery of the remains of Gilgo beach.  Via REUTERS
In 2011, Suffolk County police were trying to elucidate the quadruple discovery of the remains of Gilgo beach. Via REUTERS

Rex Heuermann, a New York architect, married and father, considered very meticulous in his work, was arrested Thursday evening near his offices in Manhattan, while his residence, in the village of Massapequa Park 20 minutes from Gilgo beach, was searched. 

On Friday, he was charged with the first and second degree murders of Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Costello.

According to his lawyer, he said he was completely innocent. Placed in detention without the possibility of paying bail, he will appear again on August 1st. 

A court document from the Suffolk County Prosecutor’s Office shows he is also considered the No. 1 suspect in the death of Maureen Brainard-Barnes, who disappeared in 2007 but whose remains were discovered at Gilgo beach in 2010.

This investigation “expected to be resolved soon,” according to the document.

A man’s hair and a green pick-up

Under the aegis of a new commissioner, Geraldine Hart, a former FBI agent, the investigators took over the case. They were put on the trail of the architect in March 2022, after discovering that a green pick-up truck in which a victim had been seen at the time of his disappearance was registered in the name of his brother. 

Then began a slow and careful surveillance, the police recovering discarded objects to take the DNA and confuse it – thanks to current technologies, more elaborate than 13 years ago – with a male hair found at the “bottom of the web”. of burlap”.

Leftover pizza left in its box and bottles made it possible to find the corresponding DNA, according to the prosecutor. 

Hair from Heuermann’s wife was found on or near all three victims. His indictment having not taken place, they would indicate that the father of the family took the young women to his home. According to the prosecutor, Heuermann’s wife and their two children were absent when the three young women died.

At the same time, the telephone records were scrutinized. Prior to their disappearance, the young women had been called with a different disposable phone. The cross-checking of cell phone and credit card bills shows that Heuermann was very often found in the same places as these “burner” telephones, in Manhattan or Massapequa Park. It was also established that the 50-year-old had purchased additional minutes of communication for one of the disposable telephones in a store in midtown Manhattan.

Heuermann continued to seek information about his crimes

Searching Heuermann’s computer, investigators found a disturbing history of Internet searches, 200 of which were for the status of the investigation, according to Tierney. His requests included “depictions of abused, raped and killed women”, according to the prosecutor. He continued to compulsively search for photos of the victims and their relatives. After Melissa Barthelemy disappeared, her cell phone was used to call her parents. Her sister had responded to a man who said he had killed and sexually assaulted her. Here again, the triangulation plays against Heuermann.

Police had discovered the bodies of the “Gilgo Four” in December 2010 while searching for Shannan Gilbert, a 23-year-old woman who went missing in Jersey City, New Jersey, after walking from a client’s house. 

Shannan Gilbert’s body was found a year later on nearby Oak Beach , and her death attributed to accidental cause, despite her mother’s fight inspiring a Netflix film . 

Investigators then unearthed ten sets of human remains scattered across two counties on Long Island.

Among them were those of a little girl, a presumably transgender Asian man and a woman originally named “Jane Doe #6”. 

Jane Doe, the name that the police give to the unknown, was identified in 2020 as Valerie Mack, a 24-year-old young woman from Philadelphia, mother of a 6-year-old boy, who was also a prostitute. 

His disappearance in 2000 had not been reported by his adoptive family. His body was found ten years apart in two different locations. 

The investigation will continue in the light of the latest discoveries, as will that of Jessica Taylor, another 20-year-old prostitute who disappeared in 2003, whose skull was found on Long Island. 

A black leather belt bearing the initials HM or WH, depending on which way one looks, was found near the human remains.

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