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Crime News Serial Killers

Who is Rex Heuermann, the Suspected Gilgo Beach Serial Killer?

A Manhattan architect living on Long Island and married father of two has been charged with the murders of three woman who have been counted among the infamous Gilgo Beach victims for more than a decade.

By Grace Jidoun
The Long Island Serial Killer Case, Explained

For more than a decade, the Gilgo Beach murders have remained a mystery, frustrating law enforcement and the community as they tried to find who was responsible for a string of bodies found along Long Island, New York's southern shoreline.

On Friday, Suffolk County authorities announced the biggest development in the case to date: the arrest of suspect Rex Heuermann.

Heuermann has been taken into custody in connection to three of the 11 bodies found between 2010 and 2011, most of who were female sex workers, reports the Associated Press. He's been charged with first- and second-degree murder in the deaths of Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Costello. Authorities described his as a "prime suspect" in another killing, according to the AP.

RELATED: The Zodiac Killer Letters Were Analyzed By AI—Here Are the Results

What is Rex Heuermann's background?

Living a seemingly everyday life, the 59-year-old married architect resides in Massapequa Park, a sleepy South Shore suburb not far from the beach highway where human remains were first found in 2010.

In 1994, he founded a Manhattan-based architecture firm, RH Consultants and Associates. According to his firm’s website, his client list includes Catholic charities, American Airlines, Target, Foot Locker, and Nike, among others. His website's “about” section also states that he “provided services to other city agencies, not-for-profit agencies, builders, developers, and individual owners of buildings.”

In an interview from his Midtown Manhattan offices posted by a French YouTuber in early 2022, a red-faced Heuermann appears at his desk in a button-down shirt discussing his dealings with New York City’s Department of Buildings on accessibility requirements for persons with disabilities. He touts his “patience” and “tolerance” when interacting with clients and burrough commissioners.

“I’m a troubleshooter born and raised on Long Island,” he says. Heuermann said he learned furniture building from his dad, whom he claims was an “aerospace engineer and built satellites.

Crime laboratory officers outside a Long Island home.

“I have one tool that’s pretty much used in every job, and it’s actually a cabinet maker’s hammer. It’s persuasive enough when I need to persuade something,” he said.

“Not someone?” the interviewer asked.

“Something,” Heuermann responds, “and it always yields excellent results.”

Does Rex Heuermann have a family?

Heuermann resides in a one-story suburban home on a quiet tree-lined street with his wife, son, and daughter. Associates and neighbors are shocked by just how ordinary a life Heuermann otherwise lived. A next-door neighbor interviewed by NBC News characterized the suspect’s family members as “loners,” saying they mostly kept to themselves and rarely chatted with other neighbors.

“If they’re outside, we say, ‘Hi, how you doing? That’s about it,” Patricia Maressa told NBC News. The last time Maressa saw Heuermann, he was working in his yard about a week ago. “It seems like they were starting to redo the front of the house because they put in a new door and put in new windows,” she added.

Other neighbors found Heuermann's home dilapidated and out of place in the otherwise well manicured neighborhood.

“This house sticks out like a sore thumb. There were overgrown shrubs, there was always wood in front of the house,” Gabriella Libardi, a 24-year-old teacher, told the AP. “It was very creepy. I wouldn’t send my child there.”

In another strange twist, the actor Billy Baldwin shared on social media that he was a high school classmate of Heuermann’s. “Woke up this morning to learn that the Gilgo Beach serial killer suspect was my high school classmate Rex Heuermann. Berner High School… Massapequa, New York… Class of 1981,” Baldwin tweeted.

According to a bail application obtained by the New York Post, Heuermann was linked to one of the victims through DNA obtained from a discarded pizza crust.

He pleaded not guilty Friday afternoon to all charges against him. 

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