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"My Children Cry Themselves to Sleep": Wife of Accused Gilgo Beach Serial Killer Speaks Out about Police Raid

"They treated them like animals,” said Bob Macedonio, a lawyer for Rex Heuermann’s wife, Asa Ellerup.

By Dorian Geiger
The Long Island Serial Killer Case, Explained

The wife of the suspect in the Gilgo Beach murders says her children “cry themselves to sleep” since their father was arrested under suspicion of being the Long Island serial killer.

Asa Ellerup, 59, said she’s been blindsided by crippling anxiety in the wake of her husband Rex Heuermann’s arrest, which she said, has also taken its toll on the couple’s adult children. 

RELATED: Suspect in Infamous Gilgo Beach Murders Arrested

Heuermann was arrested in July and charged with three counts each of first- and second-degree murder relating to the Gilgo Beach serial killings of Melissa Barthelemy, 24, Megan Waterman, 22, and Amber Lynn Costello 27, whose remains were found strewn along Long Island’s South Shore in 2010. All three women were sex workers who advertised their services on Craigslist and other sites, according to police. 

Heuermann, who is scheduled to make his first court appearance Tuesday, denies involvement in the killings. He pleaded not guilty to the murders of Barthelemy, Waterman and Costello.

A mugshot of Rex Heuermann

Detectives spent 12 days tearing apart the family’s ranch-style Massapequa Park home following Heuermann’s arrest in the search for additional clues pertaining to the string of Long Island serial killings. 

The police searches, however, Ellerup said, destroyed her home and have even left her without a mattress to sleep on. 

“I woke up in the middle of the night, shivering,” Ellerup told the New York Post. “My children cry themselves to sleep. I mean, they’re not children. They’re grown adults but they’re my children, and my son has developmental disabilities and he cried himself to sleep."

RELATED: Gilgo Beach Murder Suspect Rex Heuermann "Traumatized" After Arrest, His Lawyer Says

Ellerup has since filed for divorce from Heuermann following his arrest. Authorities have said Ellerup was outside the country at the time of the suspected slayings.

Prior to his arrest, Heuermann lived at the home with Ellerup, as well as the couple’s adult children. Last week, authorities announced they hadn’t “ruled out” Heuermann’s “cluttered” Long Island home as a crime scene, according to prosecutors. 

An excavator in the backyard of Rex Heuermann's home in Massapequa Park, NY.

“[The police] walked up, they went into the vehicles and out the door they went — out," Ellerup said, describing the search of her home. "They left. And when I got into the house I might have had a few steps of walking space between my front door and the kitchen."

Investigators, who seized a number of possible evidentiary items from inside the architect’s home, also detected several "disturbances" in the home’s backyard by using ground penetrating radars. An excavator could be seen digging in the backyard last week.

“It’s the only thing I got,” Ellerup added, referring to her home.

Victoria Heuermann, Ellerup’s daughter, said that they were treated by law enforcement as “not human” while police scoured the property for nearly two weeks. 

“She meant what they’ve done to them and the family is not even human," Ellerup's attorney, Bob Macedonio, explained. "They were just complete animals. They treated them like animals.”

RELATED: Sex Workers Are Coming Forward About Alleged Encounters with Gilgo Beach Serial Killer Suspect Rex Heuermann

A GoFundMe, which was set up for Ellerup and her family to “start a new life,” has since raised more than $5,000. The online fundraiser was started by Melissa Moore, the daughter of the "Happy Face Killer," Keith Hunter Jesperson.

“I have waited to create this gofundme, as I didn't want to offer support if she would not want it,” Moore wrote on the verified page. “I needed Asa's consent. 

"Today, I have an opportunity to use my voice to help Asa, who isn't in a place to speak about the terror and horror she and her family are experiencing at this moment. While people may assume Asa has the funds to start a new life, the assumption is just that. We don't know the financial and verbal abuse she may have suffered.”

Heuermann remains in custody without bail ahead of his first court appearance.

He is also considered by police to be the prime suspect in the murder of Maureen Brainard-Barnes, but he has not been charged in her killing. Brainard-Barnes — along with Barthelemy, Waterman and Costello — are among the 11 deaths known as the Gilgo Beach murders.

The bodies were discovered after 24-year-old sex worker Shannan Gilbert disappeared after leaving a client’s home in Oak Beach in May of 2010.