06/14/2024

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‘Planning Document,’ Searches Lead Investigators to Name Rex Heuermann a Suspect in 7th Long Island Murder

‘Planning Document,’ Searches Lead Investigators to Name Rex Heuermann a Suspect in 7th Long Island Murder

Investigators have named Long Island serial killer suspect Rex Heuermann as a suspect in the murder of a seventh victim.

Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney told Newsday that Heuermann is a suspect in the death of Valerie Mack, whose torso was found in Manorville not far from where remains of Jessica Taylor were found.

Heuermann was formally charged on Thursday with the murders of Taylor, who was killed in 2003, and Sandra Costilla, who was murdered in 1993, as CrimeOnline previously reported. The new charges came after a series of searches in Manorville and back at Heuermann’s Massepequa Park home on Long Island.

Tierney told Newsday that the discovery of what investigators are calling Heuermann’s “planning document” on a computer led to the new searches and ultimately the new charges.

739871993 Rex Heuermann Superseding Bail Application From June 6 2024 by kc wildmoon on Scribd

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That document, Tierney said, “illustrates [Heuermann’s] motive, meticulous planning and intent to murder.”

The district attorney said that the new search at Heuermann’s home focused on the basement, where investigators now believe the suspect may have carried out his gruesome murders. They went in looking for areas where they believe push pins or tape may have been used to suspend tarps — and “we think we found some of those locations.”

“In the basement, using infrared light, you’re able to see things with greater contrast,” Tierney said Friday. “We saw adhesive indications, pieces of tape left. We photographed that and then we preserved it. And now we’re going to analyze it.”

The Gilgo 4: Melissa Barthelemy, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, Amber Lynn Costello, and Megan Waterman/Suffolk County Police Department

A lengthy bail application document filed on Thursday provides details of the investigation that had not been previously released — including the “planning document” — particularly now that Heuermann has been charged with two additional murders.

The 60-year-old Manhattan architect was charged last July with the murders of Melissa Barthelemy, Amber Costello, and Megan Waterman, three of the so-called Gilgo 4, who were found dead and buried on a desolate stretch of Gilgo Beach in late 2010. Prosecutors added a murder charge for the fourth victim, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, in January.

The charges related to Taylor and Costilla are the first not connected with the Gilgo 4, and both took place earlier than those initial four victims. Tierney said the discovery of the planning document and subsequent investigation may lead to more charges.

“We’re going to turn our attention not only to the rest of the bodies on the beach but also off in Suffolk County,” he said.

Tierney also said that investigators had uncovered “anectodal evidence” that Costilla — previously the only victim not known to have engaged in sex work — was in fact a sex worker.

The documents reveal that the 28-year-old Costilla’s body was found on November 21, 1993, by a pair of hunters in Southhampton. Police believe she was killed a day or two before.

Taylor’s torso and legs were found by a dog walker on July 26, 2003, in Manorville. She had been decapitated and her arms removed below the elbow. Those remains were found on March 29, 2011, along Ocean Parkway — just east of Gilgo Beach, less than a mile from where the remains of the Gilgo 4 were found, and near where the head, hands, and one foot of Valerie Mack were found that same year.

Mack’s torso was found on November 19, 2000, in Manorville, near where the first remains of Taylor were found. The other remains were found on April 4, 2011, in a plastic bag on Gilgo Beach near Ocean Parkway.

Valerie Mack/Suffolk County Police Department

The discoveries of remains in late 2010 and early 2011 followed the search for Shannan Gilbert, who disappeared earlier in 2010. Her body was recovered in December 2011. Police have said they don’t consider her a victim of the Long Island serial killer, but at a news conference on Thursday, Tierney said that “Every person that was tragically murdered in Suffolk County, they’re in play,” according to Newsweek.

Heuermann’s defense attorney, Michael J. Brown, declined to speak specifically about the new charges with Newsday, but noted that the murders of Costilla and Taylor were quite different from those of the Gilgo 4.

“Most people assume, and I think rightfully so, that from a criminology standpoint, the MO would be the same,” Brown said. “So you have burlap bags, you have a two-or-three-year period, you have [sex workers.] Now the allegation has obviously expanded tremendously. Now you’re talking about, and any murder is horrific, but the way in which they claimed these murders occurred, were [particularly] horrific. You have 20 years prior, you have a completely different location, you have dismembered bodies. So it definitely changes the dynamics. It’s inconsistent with the initial theory.”

Heuermann has pleaded not guilty to all six murders.

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[Featured image: Sandra Costella/Suffolk County Police Department and Jessica Taylor/John Ray Law via AP. Inset: Rex Heuermann/Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office via AP]