How Long Island police tied Rex Heuermann to the Gilgo Beach murders

Did he know that his time was up?

His alleged web searches will surely appear to counsel so.

Over the final yr 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 in regards to the victims and their households.

He googled using new cellphone expertise within the case and appeared for podcasts and documentaries in regards to the murders.

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

For as much as 16 years, police say he had gotten away with brutally murdering younger ladies 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.

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

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

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

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


He even searched Google for the solutions to questions together with “why could law enforcement not trace the calls made by the long island serial killer” and “why hasn’t the long island serial killer been caught”, court docket paperwork state.

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

Or in spite of everything this time had handed, did he suppose that he may 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 street, 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 City in early June 2007.

Moment Gilgo Beach suspect arrested in crowded New York avenue

It’s taken 13 years however Suffolk County Police lastly say they’ve caught the serial killer who lured in intercourse employees, 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 court docket paperwork as prosecutors requested a decide 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 first piece of the puzzle got here when a witness within the Costello case revealed particulars a few automobile {that a} shopper 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 residence in West Babylon.

One night time earlier, witnesses stated {that a} prostitution shopper had come to her residence however the shopper 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 shopper out of money. A witness – Costello’s unidentified pimp – stated that the shopper was driving a first-generation Chevrolet Avalanche.

The subsequent day the identical shopper contacted Costello to satisfy her however stated that he wouldn’t come to her residence due to “her boyfriend”, the court docket paperwork state.

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

(Patrick Reichart)

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

The particulars of the automobile got here to gentle final yr 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 instructed officers in regards to the suspect within the inexperienced Chevrolet Avalanche, telling them he didn’t know the person’s title however that “you might want to 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 “dark bushy hair,” and “big oval style 1970’s type eyeglasses”.

“As described below, this was significant, because a witness to the disappearance of Amber Costello identified a first-generation Chevrolet Avalanche as the vehicle believed to have been driven by her killer,” the court docket paperwork state.

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison instructed New York Daily News this was the “turning point” within the investigation – and the second that authorities zeroed in on Mr Heuermann.

“The turning point was the car,” he stated. “Once we got that car, who it connected to, that’s when the investigation got legs.”

The discovery 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.

At the time when the three ladies went lacking, they’d been involved with an individual who was utilizing a burner cellphone to rearrange to satisfy them.

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

But, in accordance with the court docket paperwork, Mr Heuermann nonetheless managed to make a collection of crucial errors whereas utilizing them.

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

Rex Heuermann leaves court docket on Friday

(Fox 5/YouTube)

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

“Investigators could find no instance where Heuermann was in a separate location from these other cellphones when such a communication event occurred,” the court docket paperwork state.

In the times main as much as Barthelemy’s disappearance, she had been contacted by the identical burner cellphone a number of occasions.

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

Cell web site data 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 completed.

Prosecutors say the proof reveals this particular person 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)

Throughout the following 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 type 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. Records present that every of the taunting calls pinged off cell towers in Midtown Manhattan.

Mr Heuermann additionally allegedly used Brainard-Barnes’ cellphone to test her voicemail, the court docket paperwork present.

Online searches for express photos – and the LISK investigation

In 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 employees proper up till his arrest.

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

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

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

Selfie taken on one in every of his pretend accounts

(through REUTERS)

Searches included “girl hog tied torture porn” and “10 year old school girl”.

As nicely because the disturbing sexual searches, prosecutors say he additionally appeared up photos of the homicide victims and their kin, and researched podcasts, documentaries and information tales on the case.

These included “why could law enforcement not trace the calls made by the long island serial killer”, and “why hasn’t the long island serial killer been caught”, “Long Island killer” and “Long Island serial killer phone call”.

He additionally appeared for details about the brand new process pressure on the case.

Knowing he was preserving an in depth eye on the investigation, police saved 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.

Wife’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 establish the feminine who the belonged to, investigators trawled by the trash on the Heuermann residence in Long Island.

New York State law enforcement officials 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, in accordance with the court docket 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 might have transferred to the crime scene by her husband’s clothes or by him utilizing objects resembling tape taken from the household residence.

Pizza crust

As nicely as 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, in accordance with the court docket paperwork.

But that hair was saved 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 DNA

(Suffolk County DA)

Now, to test if it matched Mr Heuermann, investigators wanted his DNA to check 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.

Last month, court docket data state the forensics got here again: it was Mr Heuermann’s hair discovered on Waterman’s physique.

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