Dear Commons Community,
Rex Heuermann, a New York City architect has been arrested in connection with the Gilgo Beach murders, a series of killings of mostly young women that confounded investigators on Long Island for thirteen years, police said yesterday.
Heuermann, 59, was arrested Thursday evening at his Manhattan office and was expected to be arraigned yesterday, said Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney K. Harrison.
“We anticipate an indictment later on this afternoon,” said Harrison, whose agency and the Suffolk County district attorney are leading the investigation.
Heuermann lives in Massapequa in neighboring Nassau County, police said.
The sister of Shannan Gilbert, the first of the 11 victims found slain, said she was “relieved that they finally caught him.”
“It’s been a long time coming and I never gave up hope that one day justice would be served,” Sherre Gilbert said in an email to NBC News. “I’m just happy it happened sooner rather than later. The suspect (Rex) deserves to rot in prison for the rest of his life. He destroyed many lives so while it won’t bring our loved ones back, it does help that one less monster is off the streets and he can’t ever hurt anyone else!”
Heuermann’s arrest came after a spokesperson for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office said there was a “significant development in the case” but declined to comment further until after a court proceeding..
The news was first reported by News 12 Long Island.
“The focus for me, members of our team, has been on bringing justice for this victims and closure to these families who have suffered,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said at a news press conference. “Today’s developments take us a major step forward in doing exactly that.”
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul agreed.
“We’ll all be sleeping a lot easier tonight,” Hochul said after the arrest was announced.
Friends of the suspect expressed shock at his arrest. They said he owns a Manhattan architecture firm and belonged to a New York City-based networking group known as The Dream Team.
“I knew him as a friend and a colleague,” a woman who asked not to be identified told NBC News in a telephone interview. “And I am completely surprised…I did not see this coming.”
Actor Billy Baldwin said he graduated with Heuermann in 1981 from Berner High School in Massapequa. He said his former classmate was married and had two children.
“Woke up this morning to learn that the Gilgo Beach serial killer suspect was my high school classmate Rex Heuermann,” the actor tweeted. ““Mind-boggling… Massapequa is in shock.”
Eleven sets of human remains were found on a stretch of highway in Suffolk County after police began searching along Ocean Parkway for Gilbert, a 24-year-old sex worker from New Jersey who vanished in 2010 after leaving a client’s house in Oak Beach.
During the search, the remains of Melissa Barthelemy, 24, were found on Dec. 11, 2010. Two days later, three more bodies were discovered — Megan Waterman, 22, Amber Lynn Costello, 27, and Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 25.
In March 2011, Suffolk police found the partial remains of Jessica Taylor along Ocean Parkway. Eight years earlier, remains also belonging to Taylor were found in Manorville, police said in 2020.
In April 2011, police uncovered three additional sets of remains. They were of Valerie Mack, 24, a female toddler and a man.
The shocking discoveries continued when two additional bodies were found in Nassau County.
Mack was not identified until 2020.
Gilbert’s remains were eventually discovered by police on Oak Beach in December 2011. According to NBC New York, Gilbert was not the only victim who was a sex worker.
In May 2022, Suffolk County police released 911 audio related to Gilbert’s disappearance. She initially called 911 from inside the home of a client, Joseph Brewer, in Oak Beach shortly before 5 a.m. in 2010.
“There is somebody after me,” she told the dispatcher multiple times. “Somebody’s after me — please,” she said.
Gilbert didn’t specify where she was but said she was on Long Island. At times during the call, she was heard speaking to her driver and security, Michael Pak, saying “Please, get me out of here, Mike.”
At times during the 911 call, Brewer and Pak were heard speaking, trying to get her out of Brewer’s home.
“Come on, let’s go. We’ll all go outside,” Brewer was heard saying.
Gilbert added, “Please, get me out of here, Mike.”
The development comes after a multi-agency task force made up of FBI, New York State Police and Suffolk County authorities was established in February 2022 to “reinvigorate” the investigation.
Incredible arrest after all of these years!