- In 2023, a man named Rex Heuermann was arrested for the murders of 3 women found on Gilgo Beach in Long Island, NY.
- Heuermann is also believed to be responsible for a 4th victim’s murder and possibly more.
- The remains of at least 10 people have been discovered on or near Gilgo Beach.
- Most of the unidentified victims located on or around Gilgo Beach have been identified.
- Authorities believe Heuermann may have carried out the murders at his home.
- Heuermann’s residence is only 30 minutes from where the Gilgo Four were located.
The Gilgo Beach murders, a notorious unsolved case, unfolded in Babylon, New York, and involved a series of gruesome murders and disappearances, primarily targeting women, many of whom were sex workers. These chilling crimes were discovered in 2010, prompting extensive investigations and media attention. In 2023, a significant break in the case occurred after law enforcement arrested a local man, Rex Heuermann, for the slayings – reigniting interest in this long-standing mystery. But how did detectives track down the Gilgo Beach serial killer? Where was this monster hiding for over a decade? VR is giving you an up-to-date breakdown of the case below.
Where Did Rex Heuermann Live?
Rex Heuermann’s residence in Massapequa Park, NY, has emerged as a grim focal point of recent notoriety after he was charged with the murders of 3 women found dead on Gilgo Beach.
Surprisingly, his home presents a stark contrast to the suburban surroundings. The small, red, and seemingly dilapidated house is a genuine eyesore for the locals. It stands as a relic of a bygone era, constructed in 1956. With just 1,323 square feet of interior space, it’s a stark reminder of past architectural styles.
Heuermann acquired the property in 1998 for $195,000, but today, its worth has appreciated considerably, estimated at $561,612.
Following the arrest of Heuermann, police scoured the home for evidence, tearing apart every inch of the home during their search. Here, we see what looks to be the aftermath of their search in an office space or den.
Investigators left no stone unturned during their search – even cutting open the tub in the bathroom.
According to authorities, the evidence they found within the home indicates that Heuermann may have actually murdered his victims at his family’s residence while his wife and children were out of town.
Authorities confiscated over 200 firearms on Heuermann’s property – only 92 of which had permits. The firearms were located in a strange walk-in vault inside the concrete basement, protected by a large iron door.
Other items allegedly taken from the property included a large portrait of a woman with bruises on her face, a doll inside a glass case, and a filing cabinet.
Police also dug a large hole in the backyard looking for further victims, finding mysterious fragments that some speculate could be pieces of bones, though more analysis is needed to determine their origin.
Below, we see investigators photographing various fragments discovered in the soil.
Upon checking his personal computer and burner phones, authorities also found an alarming amount of searches on not only the victims of the Gilgo Beach slayings, but also their families.
Now, the property has become a macabre attraction for those looking to catch a glimpse of the possible scene of multiple murders. It’s important to remember, however, that this is still a private residence where Heuermann’s (now ex) wife and 2 young children live and their privacy should be respected in this difficult time.
Who Is Rex Heuermann?
Rex Heuermann, a 59-year-old resident of Massapequa Park, a quiet village in Nassau County, was recently identified as a suspect in a series of perplexing killings that have baffled investigators and garnered national attention.
Heuermann had been leading a seemingly inconspicuous life, working as an architect in Manhattan and commuting from his peaceful suburban home. He was well-regarded by neighbors, who described him as a well-dressed, reserved individual.
Some had only brief interactions with him and his family over the years, as the Heuermann’s tended to keep to themselves.
Heuermann, who operated RH Consultants & Associates, obtained his architecture license in 1996 and maintained a clean professional record.
His diverse clientele included organizations such as Catholic Charities, New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection, and American Airlines, where he served as an architectural consultant and troubleshooter, emphasizing his expertise in city architectural codes.
Gilgo Beach Victims
When it comes to cases like this, it’s important not to forget that those who were murdered were more than just discarded remains. Here are the names of those located at or around Gilgo Beach:
Melissa Barthelemy (24), Maureen Brainard-Barnes (25), Amber Costello (27), Megan Waterman (22). These are the women known as the “Gilgo Four” that authorities believe were murdered by Rex Heuermann.
Jessica Taylor (Age 20)
Karen Vergata (Age 34)
Valerie Mack (Age 24)
Unidentified Asian Male (Age 17-23)
Unidentified Toddler (Approximately Age 2)
Unidentified Female – known as “Peaches” (Approximately Age 16-30)
The photos show Peaches’ tattoo, the inspiration for her name, and the jewelry she was wearing.
Anyone with new information on the case can submit a tip to the Suffolk County Police Department.
The Gilgo Beach Murders
The case of the Gilgo Beach murders has baffled investigators for over a decade, with multiple victims being found over the years with no answer as to who was responsible for their murders. While investigating, authorities have located around 10 different sets of remains in the area. Some details on the victims are lacking, but this is what we have currently:
The first discovery of remains came in April 1996, when a pair of severed legs wrapped in plastic were discovered on Blue Point Beach in Suffolk County – the remains came to be known as “Fire Island Jane Doe.” Her skull was later located in 2011 near Ocean Parkway. A DNA test carried out in 2022 revealed that Jane Doe was a woman by the name of Karen Vergata of Manhattan, NY.
On December 11, 2010, as police searched for another missing woman, they located the skeletonized remains of Melissa Barthelemy wrapped in burlap and left in a patch of thick brush on Gilgo Beach.
On December 13, 2010, the remains of Amber Costello, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, and Megan Waterman were located less than 500 feet apart from each other.
On March 29, 2011, the remains of Jessica Taylor were located along Ocean Parkway during a search for missing Shannan Gilbert. Part of Jessica’s remains had been found previously in a wooded area of Manorville in July 2003.
On April 4th, 2011, the remains of three additional victims were located: An Asian male (age 17-23), a female toddler (approx. age 2), and Valerie Mack (also known as Jane Doe #6). Valerie’s remains were also found in two separate locations – in Manorville in 2000 and Oak Beach in 2011.
On April 11, 2011, the partial remains of a Jane Doe, referred to as “Peaches” due to the peach tattoo on her chest, were located near Jones Beach. Some of her remains had been located initially back in June 1997 in a bin at Hempstead Lake State Park. DNA carried out in 2022 revealed Peaches to be the mother of the toddler found further down the parkway.
Detectives on the case have yet to rule out the possibility that some of the other victims outside of the Gilgo Four were carried out by Heuermann. However, they do believe some of the killings were done by other perpetrators.
Gilgo Beach Murder Map
The four women that Rex Heuermann is accused of murdering were found a mere 30 minutes from the Heuermann family home and roughly 500 feet from each other. Unfortunately, they are far from the first or last remains to be located in the area.
Several other bodies were located along the same stretch of shoreline (pictured below), but Heuermann is currently only charged with 3 of the murders at this time.
Gilgo Beach Murders Investigation
In the chilling case of Megan Costello’s disappearance in 2010, her roommate, Dave Schaller, played a crucial role in providing detectives with a distinctive description of a man he encountered during that fateful period.
Schaller portrayed the man as a towering figure with a haunting “empty gaze” who drove a first-generation Chevy Avalanche. His encounter with the stranger turned violent when Schaller returned home to discover Costello locked in the bathroom, with the menacing man threatening her from outside.
A physical altercation ensued between Schaller and the man, who hastily fled the scene in his truck. Tragically, on September 2, 2010, Schaller witnessed Costello leaving their residence to meet the same client, never to return again. Another witness spotted the ominous truck passing by Costello’s home shortly after her departure.
Despite Schaller’s early and vital tip to the police, it languished for years with little investigation. It wasn’t until 2022 when Suffolk County District Attorney, Ray Tierney, took over the case, that a renewed effort to uncover the Gilgo Beach killer was initiated.
Schaller’s information was revisited, and vehicle records revealed that Rex Heuermann not only owned a Chevy Avalanche but had also resided within a neighborhood pinpointed by a search grid based on cellphone location data from the time of Costello’s disappearance.
The failure to pursue Schaller’s lead earlier could be attributed to the chaotic backdrop of that time, characterized by divisions among law enforcement agencies and a series of scandals. This included the imprisonment of Suffolk County District Attorney, Thomas Spota, and the controversial tenure of James Burke as head of the Suffolk County police department.
Burke’s tenure saw the cessation of FBI cooperation on the case due to federal scrutiny of his own misconduct, leading to a subsequent prison sentence for attempting to conceal the assault of a man who discovered adult toys and pornography in his car.
How Did They Find the Gilgo Beach Killer?
The new task force assigned to catching the Gilgo Beach killer first utilized Schaller’s earlier tips about his encounter with the violent stranger as a starting point. Tracking down Heuermann, they arrested him outside his Midtown office.
Police took a pizza crust Heuermann had discarded in a Manhattan garbage can and cross-referenced it to hair found on a burlap sack Waterman’s body was wrapped in. The DNA was a match.
As he was being booked following his arrest, Heuermann simply asked “Is it in the news?”
Gilgo Beach Murders Update 2023
As of October 2023, Heuermann is in prison – charged with 3 counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman, and Amber Costello.
Heuermann is also the primary suspect in the disappearance of Maureen Brainard-Barnes, though he hasn’t been charged in that homicide as of yet.
In addition to helping the family’s of the Gilgo Four finally find closure, there has also been an effort to ensure others found at Gilgo Beach are given their identity back. Two weeks after Heuermann’s arrest, it was announced that the remains of an unknown woman, called “Fire Island Jane Doe”, had been identified as belonging to Karen Vergata.
Vergata was a 34-year-old escort that worked out of Manhattan and went missing on Valentine’s Day back in 1996.
Police in both Las Vegas and South Carolina are also reviewing cold cases to see if any bare a resemblance to the Gilgo Beach slayings. Heuermann had spent time in South Carolina and planned on retiring there. He also owns a timeshare in Vegas’s Club De Soleil that he purchased for around $17,000 in 2005.