Police in New York have arrested a person suspected of being involved in the murders of at least 10 women in the Long Island Serial Killer case. The women’s bodies were found on Long Island’s Gilgo Beach over a decade ago.
Four senior law enforcement officials who have detailed knowledge of the situation stated that 59-year-old Rex Heuermann, a New York City architect, has been taken into custody as part of the ongoing investigation.
Heuermann has owned his own architectural firm, RH Consultants & Associates, since 1994, according to online records. His clients include Catholic Charities, NYC-DEP Sewerage Treatment and American Airlines and other major tenants at the JFK International Airport. An employee, Jaime Ovalle-Motta, told The Daily Beast on Friday morning, “Shocked. I’m in total shock. That’s all I can say.”
The specific allegations against him were made public on July 14, 2023, with a court hearing later that day. Informants mentioned that Heuermann hails from the Massapequa region, which is adjacent to Nassau County, and directly across the bay from Gilgo Beach – less than 20 minutes from the site where the bodies were dumped. Witness say a significant number of police officers were present at 105 1st Ave, Massapequa Park, throughout the morning hours of Friday. Ironically, the home is only a few blocks from the original Amityville Horror house.
Friends noted that Heuermann was an avid furniture maker inspired by his dad, whom he described as a cabinet maker who’d also been an “aerospace engineer who built satellites.” It is notable that evidence collected in the Gilgo Beach murders included “wood chips” found on and near some of the bodies.
The police had been searching for the suspect for decades. A 911 call made by Shannan Gilbert just before she disappeared in 2010 started the case and led to the discovery of multiple bodies. Gilbert’s remains were found near Gilgo Beach along with other women’s remains. The women were in their 20s and their remains had been wrapped in burlap sacks. Four of the women were identified as Maureen Brainard-Barnes, Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman, and Amber Costello – the canonical four. Six more sets of remains were found along Ocean Parkway the following spring.
In 2022, the police stated that Shannan’s death, while sad, was most likely not murder and not a criminal case based on evidence, facts, and the circumstances. Still, they hoped the 911 audio would lead to answers in the search for the Long Island serial killer and increased the reward for information to $50,000.
The Suffolk County Police Commissioner, Rodney Harrison, expressed optimism in May 2022, stating that they were making progress in the case and hoped the newly released information would provide new leads in the crime that had stumped them for over a decade. Court records released today reveal that it was at this time that Rex Heuermann became their primary suspect.
Sherre Gilbert, the sister of Shannan Gilbert, who went missing in May 2010 in Long Island and led to the discovery of many human remains, said today that she feels “relieved” to hear that a suspect has been caught.
“I am overwhelmed but relieved that they finally caught him. It’s been a long time coming and I never gave up hope that one day justice would be served.”
“The suspect (Rex) deserves to rot in prison for the rest of his life. He destroyed many lives so while it won’t bring our loved ones back, it does help that one less monster is off the streets and he can’t ever hurt anyone else!”
How did the police catch Rex Heuermann?
Police had begun zeroing in on Rex Heuermann more than a year before his arrest. Unbeknownst to the public, a witness to the disappearance of Amber Costello (a sex worker) had described seeing Costello enter a Chevrolet Avalanche, a not-so-common vehicle at the time, and one that Heuermann owned through 2022. The witness was Costello’s pimp, who came forward last year during an interview with a new special task force. In the interview, the pimp suggested investigators “might want to look at the Avalanche-driving ogre.” The pimp described the “client” as a large, white male, approximately 6’4’ to 6’6” in height, in his mid-forties, with “dark bushy hair,” and “big oval style 1970’s type eyeglasses.” He noted the man looked like an “ogre” (see Rex Heuermann’s photo above).
Knowing that some of the killer’s phone calls to the victim’s families came from the Massapequa Park area, a search was made for owners of Chevrolet Avalanches in the area. Rex Andrew Heuermann was the only person in the neighborhood that owned that model.
Police turned their focus on Heuermann and used over 300 subpoenas and search warrants to gather additional evidence. Cellphone billing records showed Heuermann connecting to the same cell sites the victim’s burner phones had connected to during the time of their disappearance. They also noted that at least one of the victim’s cell phones had connected to towers in the Massapequa Park area shortly after their disappearance. Furthermore, they found Heuermann worked in Midtown Manhattan in the vicinity where the taunting phone calls were made to the sister of Ms. Barthelemy.
Police used various cell phone records and receipts to determine that Heuermann’s wife had been out of town during the time of the disappearances of Barthelemy, Waterman, and Costello. In fact, in two of the instances she was out of the country.
Police found that Heuermann had created Tinder accounts under the name “Andy” tied to a burner phone (347-885-1697) using the email account Springfieldman9@aol.com. The email account had been created on January 15, 2011, using the fictitious name John Springfield, also using a burner phone (347-304-2671). Records further showed that this email address had been used on Heuermann’s personal cellphone too.
A similar fictitious email account, firstname.lastname@example.org under the name Thomas Hawk, was also tied to the same 347-304-2671 burner phone. Police found the same burner cellphone (347-304-2671) used the email address to search for various sadistic, torture-related pornography and child pornography, including the terms:
- girl begging for rape porn
- pretty girl with bruised face porn
- 10 year old school girl
- tied up and raped porn
- girl hog tied torture porn
- Chubby 10 year old girl
- Girl with face beat up
- Preteen girl with makeup
- Nude slave girls
They also found hundreds of searches related to the Gilgo Beach murders including:
- why could law enforcement not trace the calls made by the long island serial killer
- why hasn’t the long island serial killer been caught
- john bitroff
- Megan waterman
- Cops launch Gilgo Beach Homicide Investigation Task Force
- Mapping the Long Island Murder Victims
- In Long Island serial killer investigation, new phone technology may be key to break in case
Finally, police found selfie photographs had been sent using the email address including this photo Rex Heuermann took of himself for the purpose of soliciting sex workers.
DNA evidence provided further evidence against Heuermann. Hairs recovered from tape used to bind Barnes, Waterman, and Costello were shown to belong to a Caucasian white woman in the “mitochondrial haplogroup K1c2. In July 2022, police recovered bottles from Heuermann’s trash receptacle. DNA from the bottles matched a female in the mitochondrial haplogroup K1c2. The female was believed to be Heuermann’s wife.
About a year later, additional analysis was conducted on the DNA samples and again compared to the bottles recovered from Heuermann’s residence. The results matched Heuermann’s wife with 99.98% accuracy. Since Heuermann’s wife had been out of the country during 3 of the victims’ disappearances, police were certain Rex Heuermann was the killer.
Undercover teams began surveilling Heuermann. One team recovered a pizza box thrown out by Heuermann into a garbage can in Manhattan. DNA swabbed from the pizza crust matched a portion of hair found in the bottom of the burlap bag used to dispose of the body of Megan Waterman.
When Heuermann was arrested by Suffolk County Police Officers, a search of his residence turned up a burner phone – 347-304-2671 – the same phone tied to the Springfieldman9@aol.com email address.
Investigation expands into other states. Heuermann’s wife of 20+ years files for divorce.
According to law enforcement sources, Heuermann killed at least one of his victims at his home in Massapequa Park. Huermann shares the house with his wife and two adult children, who were not at home during the alleged murders.
Investigators are also looking into whether Huermann is connected to other unsolved murder cases throughout the country. Suffolk County officials have already executed several court-authorized search warrants in Las Vegas and South Carolina. An avalanche truck was recovered in South Carolina and transported to Suffolk County.
Huermann’s wife, Asa Ellerup, filed for divorce in Suffolk County Supreme Court on July 19, 2023, after two decades of marriage, according to Ellerup’s attorney, Robert Macedonio. Police say Huermann’s wife and two children were unaware of his double life.
Police find a soundproof room inside Heuermann’s home. Excavation begins in the backyard.
On July 24, 2023, police found a room with soundproofing in the basement of the accused Gilgo Beach killer. Police told the New York Post that they think that at least one victim was killed there. The police began searching his backyard using cadaver dogs and ground-penetrating radar.
A former co-worker mentioned that the suspected serial killer, Rex Heuermann, took time off from his job as a Manhattan architect to install a concrete-lined vault at his family’s Long Island house. According to the ex-colleague, it’s not just a hidden room – it’s a serious vault. It had a huge, heavy-duty safe door, and he poured a massive amount of concrete to encase this room that has walls 2-3 feet thick.
Rex Heuermann photo gallery
In-Article Image CreditsLocations where eight of 10 bodies were found near Gilgo Beach since December 2010 via Suffolk County Police with usage type - News Release Media. via Reuters
Featured Image CreditLocations where eight of 10 bodies were found near Gilgo Beach since December 2010 via Suffolk County Police with usage type - News Release Media. via Reuters