Rex Heuermann: How Long Island police caught Gilgo Beach serial killer

Did he know that his time was up?

His alleged web searches would definitely appear to recommend so.

Over the past 12 months between March 2022 and June 2023, the suspected Gilgo Beach serial killer Rex Heuermann repeatedly appeared on-line for updates within the investigation police say.

He looked for particulars concerning the victims and their households.

He googled the usage of new cellphone expertise within the case and appeared for podcasts and documentaries concerning the murders.

And he even took a eager curiosity within the newly-launched job power – headed up by newly-appointed Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison – that was actively attempting to find him.

For as much as 16 years, police say he had gotten away with brutally murdering younger girls and dumping their our bodies alongside the shores of Gilgo Beach in Long Island.

As physique after physique lay undiscovered, he added extra victims to his graveyard, prosecutors allege.

Then, in late 2010, a seek for one other lacking lady led authorities to the grim discovery.

However the suspect’s time nonetheless wasn’t up.

For greater than a decade, the accused killer continued to go about his everyday life – going to work at his structure agency in Manhattan and coming dwelling to his spouse and two kids.

He appeared simply as baffled by his lack of arrest because the native residents and victims’ households who questioned why police had not been in a position to catch the killer.

Melissa Barthelemy, Amber Costello, Maureen Brainard-Barnes and Megan Waterman (from clockwise high left)


He even searched Google for the solutions to questions together with “why may legislation enforcement not hint the calls made by the lengthy island serial killer” and “why hasn’t the lengthy island serial killer been caught”, courtroom paperwork state.

Was he trying over his shoulder? Did he have an inkling that he was below surveillance?

Or in spite of everything this time had handed, did he suppose that he would possibly by no means get caught?

Then, final Thursday, as he left his workplace in Midtown after a day’s work and walked alongside a busy Manhattan highway, a gaggle of suit-clad males approached and surrounded him.

The gig was lastly up.

Rex Heuermann – a 59-year-old married father-of-two, skilled structure, Manhattan enterprise proprietor and Long Island native – was arrested and charged with the murders of Megan Waterman, Melissa Barthelemy and Amber Costello.

He was additionally named because the prime suspect within the homicide of a fourth lady Maureen Brainard-Barnes, who was final seen alive in New York Metropolis in early June 2007.

Second Gilgo Beach suspect arrested in crowded New York road

It’s taken 13 years however Suffolk County Police lastly say they’ve caught the serial killer who lured in intercourse staff, brutally murdered them after which dumped their certain and wrapped our bodies alongside the shores of Gilgo Beach.

What led them to the suspected killer was specified by courtroom paperwork as prosecutors requested a choose to disclaim him bail.

It consisted of a pimp’s tip about his pickup truck, a stash of burner telephones, “sadistic” on-line searches, cellphone calls taunting victims’ households, his spouse’s hair – and a pizza crust.

Sighting of pickup truck

The primary piece of the puzzle got here when a witness within the Costello case revealed particulars a couple of automobile {that a} consumer was driving when she was final seen alive.

Costello, who labored as a intercourse employee, was seen alive on the night of two September 2010 when she left her dwelling in West Babylon.

One evening earlier, witnesses stated {that a} prostitution consumer had come to her dwelling however the consumer was subjected to a ruse the place a person posing as Costello’s outraged boyfriend confirmed up and made him go away – in a transfer to swindle the consumer out of money. A witness – Costello’s unidentified pimp – stated that the consumer was driving a first-generation Chevrolet Avalanche.

The subsequent day the identical consumer contacted Costello to satisfy her however stated that he wouldn’t come to her dwelling due to “her boyfriend”, the courtroom paperwork state.

Police take away proof from dwelling of Long Island serial killer suspect

(Patrick Reichart)

Costello left her dwelling and was by no means seen alive once more.

The main points of the automobile got here to gentle final 12 months after a brand new taskforce was assembled in January 2022 to resolve the serial killings as soon as and for all. The taskforce reviewed the proof gathered within the case and investigators interviewed Costello’s pimp within the spring of 2022.

He advised officers concerning the suspect within the inexperienced Chevrolet Avalanche, telling them he didn’t know the person’s title however that “you would possibly wish to have a look at him”.

In March 2022, a registration search confirmed that native man Mr Heuermann owned a first-generation mannequin of the truck on the time of Costello’s disappearance. He additionally matched the witness’ description of the person believed to be the killer: a big, white “ogre”-like male in his mid-40s, round 6’4’ to six’6” tall, with “darkish bushy hair,” and “large oval model 1970’s kind eyeglasses”.

“As described under, this was important, as a result of a witness to the disappearance of Amber Costello recognized a first-generation Chevrolet Avalanche because the automobile believed to have been pushed by her killer,” the courtroom paperwork state.

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison advised New York Each day Information this was the “turning level” within the investigation – and the second that authorities zeroed in on Mr Heuermann.

“The turning level was the automobile,” he stated. “As soon as we acquired that automobile, who it linked to, that’s when the investigation acquired legs.”

The invention of the automobile led investigators to hone in on Mr Heuermann together with executing 300 subpoenas, search warrants and different authorized processes to acquire proof to find out his potential involvement within the killings.

Trove of burner telephones

Mr Heuermann’s alleged use of burner telephones then led police to make an arrest.

On the time when the three girls went lacking, that they had been in touch with an individual who was utilizing a burner cellphone to rearrange to satisfy them.

Individuals typically use burner telephones for illicit or unlawful actions as they’re tougher to hint.

However, based on the courtroom paperwork, Mr Heuermann nonetheless managed to make a collection of important errors whereas utilizing them.

The burner telephones used to contact the victims all the time pinged off the identical cell towers as Mr Heuermann’s authentic cellphone, the paperwork present – indicating that whereas utilizing the burner telephones, he was additionally in possession of his cellphone on the similar time.

The burner telephones additionally pinged off cell towers in two key areas – near Mr Heuermann’s workplace in Midtown Manhattan and near Mr Heuermann’s household dwelling in Massapequa Park.

Rex Heuermann leaves courtroom on Friday

(Fox 5/YouTube)

Data present that Mr Heuermann’s private cellphone and the burner telephones have been in the identical areas on the similar time – and within the areas that corresponded with the disappearances and murders of every of the three girls round Massapequa, Long Island and Midtown Manhattan.

“Investigators may discover no occasion the place Heuermann was in a separate location from these different cellphones when such a communication occasion occurred,” the courtroom paperwork state.

Within the days main as much as Barthelemy’s disappearance, she had been contacted by the identical burner cellphone a number of instances.

The final contact from the cellphone got here on 10 July 2009 when she was final seen alive in New York Metropolis.

Cell web site information present the burner cellphone traveled from Massapequa Park to Midtown Manhattan that day.

Then, chillingly, Barthelemy’s personal cellphone traveled from Midtown Manhattan to Massapequa Park.

Victims’ cellphones and taunting calls to grieving households

The killer took no less than two of his victims’ cellphones after their murders as a trophy – and, in a sick transfer, known as one of many sufferer’s households from her cellphone to taunt them about what he had performed.

Prosecutors say the proof exhibits this individual was Mr Heuermann.

Following Brainard-Barnes and Barthelemy’s murders, the killer took and used their cellphones.

Barthelemy’s final cell web site location was within the early hours of 11 July 2009 in Massapequa.

Surveillance footage captures Rex Heuermann including credit score to one of many burner telephones

(through REUTERS)

All through the subsequent two months, the killer then used her cellphone to make taunting cellphone calls to Barthelemy’s members of the family.

In no less than a kind of calls, answered by a devastated member of the family, the male caller gloated about killing and sexually assaulting Barthelemy.

Prosecutors allege that Mr Heuermann made these merciless calls from or within the neighborhood of his Midtown workplace the place his personal daughter is now an worker. Data present that every of the taunting calls pinged off cell towers in Midtown Manhattan.

Mr Heuermann additionally allegedly used Brainard-Barnes’ cellphone to verify her voicemail, the courtroom paperwork present.

On-line searches for express photographs – and the LISK investigation

Within the years after the murders, Mr Heuermann allegedly continued to slide up in his use of expertise – as he allegedly continued to make use of burner telephones to illicit intercourse from intercourse staff proper up till his arrest.

Whereas it confirmed a sample of behaviour, prosecutors additionally level to different disturbing exercise traced to the cellphone numbers.

Court docket paperwork present that Mr Heuermann had Tinder profiles and several other e mail accounts below a collection of pretend names.

He used these accounts – linked to his burner telephones – to seek for graphic photographs of younger women and youngsters and “sadistic, torture-related pornography”.

Selfie taken on one in every of his pretend accounts

(through REUTERS)

Searches included “woman hog tied torture porn” and “10 12 months old skool woman”.

In addition to the disturbing sexual searches, prosecutors say he additionally appeared up photographs of the homicide victims and their relations, and researched podcasts, documentaries and information tales on the case.

These included “why may legislation enforcement not hint the calls made by the lengthy island serial killer”, and “why hasn’t the lengthy island serial killer been caught”, “Long Island killer” and “Long Island serial killer cellphone name”.

He additionally appeared for details about the brand new job power on the case.

Figuring out he was protecting an in depth eye on the investigation, police stored the developments near the vest.

Surveillance footage captured Mr Heuermann including credit score to one of many burner telephones – and he had it on him when he was arrested.

Spouse’s hair

In a bombshell twist, hair belonging to Mr Heuermann’s spouse was allegedly discovered on the our bodies of three of the 4 victims.

Prosecutors say that two feminine hairs had been discovered on Waterman, one in every of them on the tape which the killer wrapped round her head. One feminine hair was discovered on tape used to wrap burlap round Costello and one hair was present in a belt buckle used to bind Brainard-Barnes – who Mr Heuermann is but to be charged over.

To determine the feminine who the belonged to, investigators trawled by way of the trash on the Heuermann dwelling in Long Island.

New York State police officers perform a big merchandise from the house of Rex Heuermann


In July 2022, they recovered 11 bottles from the trash and so they have been swabbed for DNA.

Forensic testing discovered that the DNA on the bottles matched the feminine hair discovered on the crime scene, concluding that the hair belonged to Mr Heuermann’s spouse.

The accuracy is such that greater than 99 % of the North American feminine inhabitants might be dominated out, based on the courtroom paperwork.

Prosecutors discovered that the suspect’s spouse was out of city on the time of the three murders for which he has been charged however that her hair may have transferred to the crime scene by way of her husband’s clothes or by way of him utilizing gadgets akin to tape taken from the household dwelling.

Pizza crust

In addition to his spouse’s DNA, Mr Heuermann’s DNA was additionally discovered on one of many victims.

Prosecutors stated {that a} male hair had been discovered on the burlap used to wrap Waterman’s physique earlier than the killer dumped her alongside Gilgo Beach.

When the hair was first retrieved in 2010, it was unsuitable for DNA evaluation, based on the courtroom paperwork.

However that hair was stored safely locked away and was submitted for evaluation in 2020. A DNA profile got here again.

A pizza field discarded by Gilgo Beach suspect Rex Heuermann was used to hyperlink him to the killings by way of DNA

(Suffolk County DA)

Now, to verify if it matched Mr Heuermann, investigators wanted his DNA to match the samples.

This January, a surveillance workforce watching the suspect noticed him chuck a pizza field into the trash near his workplace in Manhattan.

They nabbed the field and located a leftover pizza crust inside.

Final month, courtroom information state the forensics got here again: it was Mr Heuermann’s hair discovered on Waterman’s physique.

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