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Gilgo Beach Murder Suspect Rex Heuermann Charged In Fourth Woman’s Death

Gilgo Beach serial killing suspect Rex Heuermann has been charged with the murder of a fourth woman, whose remains were found on New York’s Long Island in 2010, prosecutors announced Tuesday.

The 60-year-old architect was charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Maureen Brainard-Barnes, who vanished in 2007, according to court documents filed in Suffolk County.

Brainard-Barnes, who was 25 and working as a sex worker when she went missing, is believed by police to be the first victim in what is known as the “Gilgo Four.” Heuermann was identified as a prime suspect in the Connecticut mom’s death following his initial arrest in July.

Alleged Gilgo serial killer Rex Heuermann appears before Judge Timothy P. Mazzei with his attorney Michael Brown at Suffolk County Court on Tuesday.
Alleged Gilgo serial killer Rex Heuermann appears before Judge Timothy P. Mazzei with his attorney Michael Brown at Suffolk County Court on Tuesday.

Alleged Gilgo serial killer Rex Heuermann appears before Judge Timothy P. Mazzei with his attorney Michael Brown at Suffolk County Court on Tuesday.

That arrest, which followed investigators allegedly linking him to the crimes through a discarded pizza box, led to him being charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the killings of Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Costello. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges.

Heuermann’s attorney entered another not-guilty plea on his behalf on Tuesday and in court said that his client looks forward to defending himself against the charges, The Associated Press reported.

Prosecutors on Tuesday said electronic evidence collected from Heuermann’s home and office, as well as DNA found on the victims’ bodies, firmly points back to Heuermann.

Heuermann, seen Tuesday, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Heuermann, seen Tuesday, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Heuermann, seen Tuesday, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

A search of his Massapequa Park home and Manhattan office upon his arrest allegedly recovered two burner phones that prosecutors said were used to contact various sex workers, including Costello. A search of his computer also found online searches for “torture porn,” information about the Gilgo Beach murder investigations, the victims’ families, and how to erase electronic data. He also attempted to shred files on his laptop shortly after meeting Barthelemy and viewing her online sex ad, prosecutors said in the charging documents.

“Heuermann is believed to be the person who used the burner cellphones to communicate with each of the four victims prior to their disappearance and who used Ms. Brainard-Barnes’ cellphone and Ms. Barthelemy’s cellphone after their deaths,” prosecutors said in their filing.

Several hairs found on the victims’ bodies were also determined to have likely originated from Heuermann, his wife, and his adult daughter, prosecutors said, citing the results of recent DNA testing.

Lorraine Ela, left, mother of Megan Waterman, Mary Gilbert, center, mother of Shannan Gilbert, and Melissa Cann, sister of Maureen Brainerd-Barnes speak to reporters in 2011 after Gilbert's body was found.
Lorraine Ela, left, mother of Megan Waterman, Mary Gilbert, center, mother of Shannan Gilbert, and Melissa Cann, sister of Maureen Brainerd-Barnes speak to reporters in 2011 after Gilbert's body was found.

Lorraine Ela, left, mother of Megan Waterman, Mary Gilbert, center, mother of Shannan Gilbert, and Melissa Cann, sister of Maureen Brainerd-Barnes speak to reporters in 2011 after Gilbert's body was found.

Evidence shows that Heuermann’s wife and children were traveling out of state, or out of the country, at the time of all four murders. Because of their absence, prosecutors said they believe Heuermann had “unfettered time to execute his plans for each victim without any fear that his family would uncover or learn of his involvement in these crimes.”

Heuermann’s wife filed for divorce shortly after his arrest last year.

All four victims’ remains were found during a monthslong search for Shannan Gilbert, who went missing in the same Long Island area in 2010 and was later found dead. Gilbert’s death is believed by police to be accidental, and not consistent with an act of violence.

If convicted, Heuermann faces multiple life sentences without parole.

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