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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Andrea Cavallier

Revealed: How 6-day search of Gilgo Beach serial killer suspect’s family home zeroed in on basement


A search of Gilgo Beach serial killer suspect Rex Heuermann’s home has ended after six days – and it appears investigators were focusing on the basement, according to the family’s attorney.

Robert Macedonio, who represents Heuermann’s estranged wife, Asa Ellerup, talked to Newsday after inspecting the condition of the Massapequa Park property when investigators left over the weekend and gave him the family permission to return on Sunday.

“It seems to be that the focus was in the basement,” Macedonio said. “There doesn’t seem to be much disturbance in the bathrooms [and] bedrooms.”

But details of what exactly the investigators were looking for in the basement remains a mystery.

It was not immediately clear if anything of importance came from the new search of Heuermann’s home.

Suffolk County police stand outside the Massapequa Park home of Rex Heuermann on May 24, 2024 as a second exhaustive search comes to an end after six days (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

“They were searching particular areas,” he said. “I don’t know what probable cause they had to do those areas, but I’m sure it was a legally sufficient search warrant.”

Mr Macedonio said he wasn’t “at liberty to discuss” why exactly he believed investigators focused on the basement. But said he planned to notify Heuermann’s defense attorney, Michael Brown, of Central Islip, of what he observed in the house.

“Most of the items that they were anticipating [being] taken are still inside,” Macedonio said. “The kitchen is very orderly, much better conditions.”

Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney, who is prosecuting the case, briefly visited the house last week as investigators photographed the front porch, collected paint chips and other materials and placed them into evidence bags.

It’s the second exhaustive search of the Massapequa home since last July in the days following Heuermann’s arrest for the slayings of the “Gilgo Four.”

The architect, 60, has been charged with the 2009 and 2010 murders of Maureen Brainard-Barnes, Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Costello, whose bodies were found buried along the remote beach parkway in 2011.

He has pleaded not guilty to the four murder charges.

Melissa Barthelemy, top left, Amber Costello, top right, Megan Waterman, bottom left, and Maureen Brainard-Barnes, whose bodies were found in 2010 are the Gilgo Four (Suffolk County Police Department via AP)

The search in July turned up more than 200 firearms, including dozens stored in a basement vault. Investigators also tore up a wooden deck, used an excavator to dig up the backyard and scanned for buried objects with specialized equipment.

The case began back in May 2010 when Shannan Gilbert, a young woman working as a sex worker, vanished after leaving a client’s house on foot near Gilgo Beach. She called 911 for help saying she feared for her life and was never seen alive again.

During a search for Gilbert in a dense thicket close to the beach, police discovered human remains. Within days, four victims had been found. By spring 2011, the number of victims rose to 10.

Gilbert’s body was then found in December 2011. Her cause of death is widely contested with authorities long claiming that it is not connected to the serial killer or killers but that she died from accidental drowning as she fled from the client’s home.

However, an independent autopsy commissioned by her family ruled that she died by strangulation and her family continues to believe she was murdered.

Court records show that Heuermann was linked to the “Gilgo Four” murders through a tip about his pickup truck, a stash of burner phones, “sadistic” online searches and phone calls taunting victims’ families.

Asa Ellerup, left, the estranged wife of Long Island serial killing suspect Rex Heuermann, arrives at court in Riverhead, New York, on April 24, 2024 (AP)

Email accounts allegedly used by Mr Heuermann were used “to access and/or conduct searches related to pornography, rape, torture, and sex workers several thousand times”, prosecutors said.

Among the harrowing searches were: “autopsy photos of female”, “stories of rape audio”, “escorts manhattan”, and “very skinny white teen tied up porn”.

His DNA was also found on one of the victims, while his wife’s hair was found on three of the four women he is connected to, according to prosecutors.

Investigators are continuing to work to determine if Heuermann is also linked to any of the other victims – while law enforcement officials across the country are probing cold case murders for any potential ties. He has not been charged in the killings of any of the other victims whose remains were found along Gilgo Beach.

Heuermann, who has been in custody since his arrest, is expected back in Riverhead court on 18 June for a status hearing. A trial date has not been set.

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