Rex Heuermann: Architect Arrested in Cold Case of Long Island Serial Killer | International
First, in December 2010, were the burlap-wrapped bodies of four women on the side of a track that leads parallel to the ocean at Gilgo Beach on the coast of Long Island. Within a few months, they discovered another six bodies in the same area, including the skeleton of a baby.
And then, for over a decade, nothing.
This Friday, more than a quarter of a century after the first news about the Long Island serial killer, one of the most famous unsolved cases in recent history of the United States, the police finally announced the arrest of a suspect. The announcement brought some relief to the residents of this coastal area belonging to New York, as well as to the relatives of the victims, unable in recent years to continue with their lives in peace.
The alleged serial killer is called Rex Heuermann, a 59-year-old architect. He was a family man with two children, and no, he didn't look like he'd ever killed a fly. He lived in Masapequa Park, on another part of Long Island, about a 25-minute drive away, though he was pulled over Thursday night in Manhattan, where he worked.
As is customary in these cases, their decades-long neighbors in that random piece of America did not leave their astonishment all day, and declared to the media that they would never have imagined that that nondescript guy could have anything to do with the macabre events that rocked their quiet community a decade ago.
Heuermann is accused of the deaths of three of the women discovered first, three of the four sex workers whom the press dubbed the Gilgo Four. The police also associate him with the disappearance of the fourth, although they have not yet charged him for it. The investigation also does not rule out that it has to do with the rest of the deaths attributed to the "Long Island murderer", which is how the culprit or culprits of the heinous crimes were known in the United States.
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The killer contacted the women using disposable cell phones at a time when tracking technology had not yet reached current levels of sophistication. He called them to request their services from places in mid-Manhattan, where Heuermann's office is. The first disappearance that caught the attention of the authorities was, in May 2010, that of Shannan Gilbert, a 24-year-old woman who went missing after visiting a client five kilometers from Gilgo Beach, but who He had time to call 911 and say, "Someone is trying to kill me." She appeared near there, in December 2011.
During the search for her remains, police found the bodies, wrapped in burlap and buried side by side, in an orderly fashion, of Amber Lynn Costello, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, Megan Waterman and Melissa Barthelemy, three other sex workers in their 20s. Months later, the dismembered body of Valerie Mack was found, who, haunted by debts, was occasionally a prostitute. She had disappeared 20 years earlier. Heuermann has so far been hung up on for the murders of Waterman, Costello and Barthelemy.
Following the gruesome findings, which quickly captured the imagination of the American public, the investigation entered a nearly decade-long stalemate. In 2020, he snapped out of his torpor by posting an image of a belt with the initials (HW or MH, depending on the orientation of the buckle) of, they said, the guy they were looking for.
In 2022, a team was created that included, but was not limited to, the FBI, state and local police, or the district attorney's office. That year, the trail of a Chevrolet Avalanche led agents to Masapequa. In January 2023, police recovered a pizza box thrown by Heuermann into a trash can in Manhattan. DNA samples were taken and compared with a hair found in the packaging of one of the corpses.
In an appearance before the press on Friday afternoon, a few hours after the accused pleaded "not guilty" before the judge, the Suffolk County District Attorney, Raymond Tierney, explained that the decision to detain him was the suspicion that he was about to return to acting, so many years later. “He kept using fictitious email addresses, fictitious identities, disposable phones, harassing sex workers,” he clarified. They weighed the option of continuing to investigate and "public safety", and opted for the second. "We had to get him off the streets," he concluded.
like so many stories of true crime In a country obsessed with them, the Gilgo Beach crimes inspired a battery of cultural products, from books to podcasts or movies, among others, The Long Island Serial Killer (2013) or a Netflix production titled Lost Girls, which focuses on Gilbert's mother's struggle to find her daughter's killer.
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