After over a decade, law enforcement finally caught the man believed to be the Long Island serial killer responsible for the horrific deaths of three women found around the Gilgo Beach area in New York. But what led investigators to the arrest? Apparently, a discarded pizza crust!
As we previously reported, Rex Heuermann was arrested on Thursday. He has since been charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman, and Amber Costello. Although he has not been charged for the murder of Maureen Brainard-Barnes, prosecutors said he remains the “prime suspect” in the case as the investigation continues. As for how Heuermann even became a suspect in these cases?
According to NBC New York, Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney revealed on Friday that when investigative efforts into the Gilgo Beach murders started up again last year, the 59-year-old architect become a main focus in the case after a witness had seen his pickup truck where a victim vanish in 2010:
“On March 14, 2022. the name Rex was first mentioned. A New York state investigator was able to identify him in a database and from that point on we used the power of the grand jury, over 300 subpoenas and search warrants, looking into this individual’s background to bring us to this day.”
In January, federal investigators were then following Heuermann in Midtown Manhattan and saw him toss a pizza box in the garbage. They quickly grabbed the box, which contained some leftover pizza crust inside. The crust was then swabbed and tested by a forensics lab. The DNA sample ended up being a match to the hair that was discovered on the burlap wrapped around the body of Megan Waterman.
But that wasn’t the only evidence police had against Heuermann. According to investigators, all four murder cases had multiple similarities to each other – including the fact that the woman contacted someone with a “burner” cell phone shortly before they disappeared. Police tracked the burner cell phones used to arrange the meetups with the victims, along with taunting calls made to Barthelemy’s sister with the victims’ cell phones. Phone calls were tracked down to areas around his home in Long Island and his office in Manhattan.
During the investigation, law enforcement also looked into his online search history – and what they found was disturbing. Prosecutors alleged in court documents that he repeatedly used one burner phone to search for images and information of his victims, sex workers, “sadistic, torture-related pornography,” and child pornography. WTF?! His email account specifically had over 200 searches between March 2022 and June 2023 about “related to active and known serial killers,” his alleged victims’ disappearances, and articles about the Gilgo Beach murders. One email account also showed a selfie of Heuermann that was “sent to other persons to solicit and arrange for sexual activity.” See some of the searches (below):
“Why could law enforcement not trace the calls made by long island serial killer”
“why hasn’t the long island serial killer been caught”
“FBI active serial killers”
“Map of all known serial killers”
“8 Terrifying Active Serial Killers (We Can’t Find)”
“Mapping the Long Island Murder Victims”
“Inside the Long Island Serial Killer and Gilgo Beach”
“In Long Island serial killer investigation, new phone technology may be key to break in case”
At this time, Heuermann has pleaded not guilty to the crimes. He is being held with no bail pending a bail application based on the “extreme depravity of the allegations.” No doubt we can expect more evidence to be revealed as this case progresses. Reactions to the latest, Perezcious readers? Let us know in the comments below.
[Image via MEGA/WENN, CBS News/YouTube]