In a significant development in the decade-old mystery of the Gilgo Beach serial killings, police have arrested and charged a man who managed to evade detection in a small coastal community for over ten years.
What’s more, authorities found sickening searches on the suspected serial killer’s Google records, Your Content has learned.
“Legal process served on Google seeking records or accounts associated with the device identifiers of these additional burner cellphones revealed a connection to yet another ‘burner’ or ‘junk’ email account, namely email@example.com (hereinafter the “Thawk Email Account”)” reads the indictment.
“Google records further indicated that the Thawk Email Account was subscribed in the fictitious name ‘Thomas Hawk.’ A search warrant revealed that the Thawk Email Account, associated with burner cellphone 347-304-2671, was used to conduct thousands of searches related to sex workers, sadistic, torture-related pornography and child pornography.”
Rex Heuermann, a 59-year-old local architect, was taken into custody by the Suffolk County, New York, police force, marking a substantial breakthrough in the infamous Long Island case. Heuermann was initially apprehended in Manhattan, New York City.
Early Friday, footage from local news teams showed a police presence in Massapequa Park, a community within Long Island. Rodney Harrison, the Suffolk County Police Commissioner, later confirmed the arrest of a male suspect, which took place Thursday at 8.30pm. Heuermann was officially named as the suspect after a grand jury handed down an indictment on Friday afternoon.
To ensure that Heuermann is denied bail, prosecutors referred to DNA evidence and calls made to victims from burner phones, all traced back to Heuermann’s architectural practice.
Between 2010 and 2011, eleven sets of human remains were discovered along a secluded section of Gilgo Beach, a barrier island on the Atlantic coast about 40 miles east of New York City. Prompted by these grisly findings, in February 2022, the Suffolk County police initiated a joint taskforce to investigate the so-called Gilgo Beach murders.
The baffling series of killings began with the disappearance of sex worker Shannan Gilbert in May 2010, after meeting a client at Oak Beach. Following Gilbert’s distressed 22-minute 911 call stating, “They are trying to kill me,” her body was discovered in a marsh along Ocean Parkway. In proximity, the bodies of Melissa Barthelemy, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, Megan Waterman, and Amber Lynn Costello were unearthed, each concealed in burlap.
Further investigations revealed an additional six sets of remains, including other female sex workers, a man, and a toddler. These discoveries sparked a decade-long inquiry that was, for a time, stalled and plagued with accusations of incompetence and institutional disregard within law enforcement, as reported by the Guardian in January 2022.
This narrative changed when Commissioner Harrison took charge of the case, forming a taskforce with FBI and state law enforcement agencies. During this period, police made public a variety of evidence, including maps, images, and Gilbert’s haunting 911 call.
Initially, authorities theorized that Gilbert’s death was accidental. However, in 2022, Harrison, during a press conference, posited that all the murders might be the work of one individual.
On Friday, Heuermann pleaded not guilty to the murders of Melissa Barthelemy, Amber Costello, and Megan Waterman, standing accused of six charges in relation to the three women’s deaths.
Suffolk County District Attorney, Ray Tierney, revealed in court that Heuermann had been under surveillance since the previous year. The authorities had planned to maintain this surveillance, but they acted swiftly when it seemed Heuermann might be planning to relocate abroad. Heuermann is also a chief suspect in the murder of Maureen Brainard-Barnes, and his involvement in the other deaths is currently under investigation.
In a bid to keep Heuermann in custody without bail, Tierney’s office emphasized the DNA evidence and the burner phone calls made to victims that were traced back to Heuermann’s office, which were instrumental in leading to his arrest.