Gilgo Beach suspect Rex Heuermann charged with murder of two more women

Rex Heuermann, the suspect in the Gilgo Beach serial killings, was charged Thursday in the deaths of two other women, with prosecutors also accusing him of keeping a “planning document” to track his crimes.

The New York architect pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges related to the murders of Sandra Costilla, 28, whose body was found in 1993, and Jessica Taylor, 20, whose remains were discovered in 2003. Eight Years later, more than Taylor’s remains were found along Ocean Parkway in Suffolk County, NEW YORK, less than a mile from where the bodies of four other women, known as the “Gilgo Four,” were discovered, Suffolk County Prosecutor Raymond Tierney told reporters Thursday. Heuermann previously pleaded not guilty to charges related to the other four murders.

The new charges extend the timeline of a case that remained cold for more than a decade, muddled by conflicts among officials working on it, before investigators began making significant progress in 2022. While authorities have since suspected long the Gilgo Beach murderer in Taylor’s death, the charge linked to Costilla suggests the person responsible for the murders may have been killed longer than previously thought.

Heuermann’s attorney, Michael Brown, did not immediately respond Thursday to a request for comment from The Washington Post. Outside court, Brown told reporters that his client was “obviously in a bad position in terms of the new charges,” the Associated Press reported.

These charges bring the number of murders Heuermann is accused of to six, including the Gilgo Four. Over the years, authorities have discovered the remains of 11 people, many of whom were involved in the sex trade, in the Gilgo Beach area. Tierney told reporters Thursday that it “would be fair to say” that Heuermann is a suspect in the death of Valerie Mack, 24, whose remains were found in 2011.

In a court filing filed Thursday, investigators say a search of Heuermann’s home after his July 2023 arrest revealed a document he used to “methodically plan and plan his murders in excruciating detail,” Tierney said . The electronic document contains lists with headers including “problems,” “supplies” and “DS,” which investigators believe is shorthand for “dump,” the court filing says. At the top of the “DS” list is “Mill Rd,” where Mack and Taylor’s remains were found, prosecutors wrote.

DNA, bloodstains, fingerprints, shoe prints and other items were all listed under “problems,” which prosecutors said was a “guidance on issues to avoid any arrest,” according to court records. That document, Tierney said Thursday, showed that “his intent was specifically to locate these victims, track them down, put them under his control and kill them.”

After police discovered four bodies near Gilgo Beach, New York, mismanagement and infighting allowed a potential serial killer to elude authorities for more than a decade. (Video: Jackson Barton, Sarah Hashemi/The Washington Post)

Taylor was last seen around July 19, 2003, and spoke to her mother by phone two days later, Tierney said. On July 25, 2003, Taylor’s family reported her missing when she failed to return home to Poughkeepsie, New York, for her mother’s birthday. Costilla was originally from Trinidad and Tobago and lived in New York before she was killed, prosecutors wrote in the court filing.

Tests linked a male hair found on Costilla’s body and another found under Taylor to Heuermann, the filing said.

The remains of the Gilgo Four, who went missing in the late 2000s, were found in 2010 as police searched for Shannan Gilbert, a 23-year-old sex worker who had disappeared while working in Oak Beach, Wash. New York State. Gilbert’s remains were found in a swamp in December 2011. Police also discovered the remains of six other people – four women, a man and a toddler – in the Gilgo Beach area.

Although officials told the public at the time that the killings appeared to be the work of a serial killer, they made little progress in identifying a suspect. Tensions between investigators, coupled with a crucial tip from a witness that no one pursued for years, kept the case largely cold, the Post reported in August.

But these murders continued to interest the public. A book, podcasts and a Netflix documentary series have chronicled it.

In 2022, Tierney formed a new task force dedicated to solving crimes. A break in the case occurred in January 2023, when investigators collected Heuermann’s DNA from a pizza box and linked it to a sample found on Megan Waterman, a 22-year-old woman whose body was found in December 2010, according to court documents.

Authorities arrested Heuermann seven months later and charged him with Waterman’s death; Amber Lynn Costello, 27; and Melissa Barthelemy, 24 years old. In January, prosecutors charged him in the death of Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 25, after DNA testing of hair from a belt used to restrain her allegedly linked him to the crime.

Maham Javaid, Alexandra Heal and Gus Garcia-Roberts contributed to this report.

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