Gilgo Beach serial murder suspect Rex Heuermann charged with 2 more murders

Rex Heuermann, who was arrested last summer and charged with killing four women in the Gilgo Beach serial killings on Long Island, was charged Thursday with murder in the deaths of two other women.

Mr. Heuermann, 60, who has pleaded not guilty to all charges related to the deaths of the six women, remained in prison for nearly a year while awaiting trial. Meanwhile, investigators turned their attention to the six other victims – four women, a man and a toddler – whose remains, like those of the first four women, were found along Ocean Parkway near Gilgo Beach.

On Thursday, Mr. Heuermann was charged with the murder of one of them: Jessica Taylor, whose partial remains were found near Gilgo Beach in 2011, then linked to other partial remains found eight years earlier in a secluded wooded area of ​​Manorville, a 45-minute drive east.

He was also charged with the murder of Sandra Costilla, a 28-year-old New Yorker whose remains were found in 1993 in the Hamptons. His long-unsolved murder had never been linked to the Gilgo Beach investigation.

Prosecutors also detailed a manual they said Mr. Heuermann kept describing how to select, kill and dispose of victims. It contained titles such as “Supplies” and “Trouble”, about avoiding detection by changing car tires, burning gloves, destroying photos of victims, concocting clothes and “packaging” the bodies for transport, according to court documents.

The new indictment follows a recent flurry of activity in the investigation: a nine-day dog ​​search completed last month in Manorville and in a wooded area of ​​Southampton where Ms. Costilla’s body was found. Last month, investigators also searched Mr. Heuermann’s six-day home in Massapequa Park on Long Island, which had been thoroughly searched for two weeks last summer after his arrest.

At the court hearing, Mr. Heuermann remained silent alongside his lawyer, Michael J. Brown, who told Judge Timothy P. Mazzei that he had just received new details about the two killings.

In a later interview, Mr. Brown said he was still playing catch-up.

“They have an army of investigators, prosecutors and experts working on this case,” he said, referring to the task force assembled by Suffolk County Prosecutor Ray Tierney.

“You’re talking about being ahead of the curve,” Mr. Brown said. “They’re going to throw everything they can at us and we’ll prepare a defense as best we can.

The Gilgo investigation dates back to late 2010, when investigators discovered the first of ten victims left along a desolate stretch of Ocean Parkway, east of Jones Beach.

The first four victims discovered, known as the Gilgo Four, appeared to be the prey of a serial killer. They were all short young women, bound with burlap, belts and duct tape. Their bodies had been dumped a quarter-mile over the previous three years, authorities said.

Prosecutors used DNA from human hair found on the tape to link the bodies to Mr. Heuermann. That, along with his Internet history and records from his burner phones, connect Mr. Heuermann to the women and where the bodies were found, prosecutors said.

But the other six sets of remains were colder cases with fewer clues and more inconsistent characteristics than the Gilgo Four.

They disappeared as early as the mid-1990s, when cell phones and Internet use were rare, and they didn’t leave many clues. Four victims were dismembered, including Ms. Taylor, and their remains were exposed to the elements for more than a decade.

DNA matches remained so rare for the six bodies during the first decade of the investigation that only one victim, Ms. Taylor, was identified. In recent years, Karen Vergata and Valerie Mack have been named as victims, while the other three have remained unidentified.

MS. Taylor grew up in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., about 90 minutes north of New York City, and began working in her late teens as an escort, authorities said. She was 20 years old when she was last seen near the Port Authority bus terminal in Manhattan at the time of her death in 2003.

According to a new bail application Thursday, a dog walker found Ms. Taylor’s dismembered body that year on a remote road in Manorville, just north of the Long Island Expressway in the Pine Barrens of Long Island.

Prosecutors said Mr. Heuermann combined a tattoo on his right hip — a red heart with an angel wing and the words “Remy’s Angel” — to try to obscure his identity. But forensic doctors were able to recover an image of the tattoo which led to his identification.

Regarding the DNA evidence that prosecutors said linked Mr. Heuermann to Ms. Taylor and Ms. Costilla, Mr. Brown said it was “a single strand of hair” on one of the bodies, which “just doesn’t seem reasonable.”

According to prosecutors, two hunters in a wooded area of ​​Southampton in 1993 found Ms. Costilla partially naked with “numerous sharp force injuries” to her face, torso, breasts, thigh and vaginal area. Her injuries were similar to those exhibited in a collection of pornographic images that prosecutors said she suffered. Heuermann kept.

At a news conference after the hearing, Mr. Tierney said the charges linked to Ms. Costilla indicated that Mr. Heuermann could be linked to an unknowable series of murders outside of the Gilgo case.

Mr. Brown, in addition to disputing prosecutors’ DNA evidence, floated another theory about the case: that the investigation into the killings had been tainted years ago by the involvement of a police chief of Long Island, now disgraced, James Burke. Mr. Burke, who oversaw the investigation as chief of the Suffolk County Police Department from 2012 to 2015, later became a symbol of police corruption and spent time in federal prison.

In a telephone interview, Mr. Brown said his client maintains his innocence. He also questioned the authorship of the manual attributed to Mr. Heuermann and whether this could have been taken out of context.

According to court documents, Manuel prosecutors said Mr. Heuermann kept a “planning document” to “methodically plan” the killings.

It details victims’ preferences (“small is good”), how to set up a sturdy table for mutilating a body, and how to build a suspension system for sexual slavery.

It recommends removing tattoos and other identifying marks, and describes how to dismember a victim and “prepare the body” for disposal, which prosecutors say was consistent with how Ms. Taylor’s remains were were found.

The document also emphasizes the importance of rest before attacks to increase “play time” with victims, according to court documents.

After the court hearing, Taylor’s mother, Elizabeth Baczkiel, described her daughter as a funny, hardworking person who dreamed of becoming a mother.

“She loved supporting children and taking care of them,” she said.

Mr. Heuermann’s wife, Asa Ellerup, and their children were not charged in connection with the two additional killings and were out of state at the time of Ms. Taylor’s disappearance, prosecutors said. They have also not been charged in connection with the Gilgo Four.

MS. Ellerup, who has recently expressed support for her husband and has become a regular at court hearings, was not present at Thursday’s hearing. Her lawyer, Robert Macedonio, said she was on a planned vacation.

Mr. Tierney said the investigation would continue as clues continued to emerge linking Mr. Heuermann to more victories.

“We’re not going to stop, we can’t stop,” he said. “We owe it to the victims.”

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