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Gilgo Beach murders: Man charged over deaths of three women linked to unsolved serial killings featured on Netflix documentary | US News

A wealthy architect has been charged with murdering three women linked to the unsolved killings of 11 people, which was the subject of the Netflix film Lost Girls.

Rex Heuermann, 59, was arrested as the prime suspect in the historical Gilgo Beach murders – in which human remains were found along a New York beach highway more than a decade ago.

He is charged with the murder of Melissa Barthelemy, 24, Megan Waterman, 22, and Amber Costello, 27, whose remains were discovered during the search for another missing female in 2010.

He pleaded not guilty to all three charges.

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A man has been charged with murdering three women linked to the unsolved killings of 11 people.

It is believed 11 individuals fell victim to the murders, many young female sex workers. Their remains were discovered in 2010 and 2011.

The New York-based architect lives in Massapequa, a community in Long Island around 15 miles away from where the victim’s remains were found.

Detectives who tailed the suspect recovered DNA from a pizza crust he threw away, then matched it to a hair found on a restraint used in the killings, police said.

Another key part of what led to his arrest was his car – a Chevrolet Avalanche – which a witness said the killer was driving after the disappearance of Ms Costello, according to NBC.

(L-R) Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Lynn Costello. Pic: Suffolk County Police
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(L-R) Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Lynn Costello. Pic: Suffolk County Police

Heuermann was taken into custody late on Thursday after his house was raided by police. His “first-generation Chevrolet Avalanche” was also towed away from the scene, NBC reported.

“Ladies and gentlemen, Rex Heuermann is a demon that walks among us – a predator that ruined families,” Suffolk County police Commissioner Rodney Harrison said.

Police also believed that the suspect was from Long Island because of a mobile phone tower ping – which came from Ms Barthelemy’s phone after her death.

A man who said he was the killer used the phone to call and taunt Ms Barthelemy’s sister after she had disappeared in 2009.

'Selfies' appeared to have been taken by Rex Heuermann, say prosecutors
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Selfies which appear to have been taken by Rex Heuermann. Pics: Suffolk County Court

The individual allegedly claimed to have killed Ms Barthelemy, related details of her murder and made sexually explicit comments down the phone.

It was previously reported that the same phone briefly pinged off a tower in the town of Massapequa – where Heuermann lives.

Rex Heuermann was seen on CCTV at a mobile phone shop in Manhattan on 19 May 2023. Pic: Suffolk County court
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Heuermann was seen on CCTV at a mobile phone shop in Manhattan on 19 May 2023. Pic: Suffolk County Court

The Gilgo Beach investigation began after police launched a search for 24-year-old Shannan Gilbert following her disappearance in the coastal community of Oak Beach in 2010.

The body of a different woman – Ms Barthelemy – was then discovered by a police dog and officer during the search. Within days, three other bodies were found, all within a short distance of one another.

The victims included Ms Waterman, Ms Costello and Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 25.

Several of the bodies were found in thickets along the sandy stretch of land.

By 2011, police had discovered four additional sets of human remains, those of Jessica Taylor, Valerie Mack, 24, a female toddler and an unidentified Asian man.

Ms Gilbert’s remains were finally discovered in December 2011, 5km (3 miles) east of the other discoveries.

(L-R) Shannan Gilbert, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, Jessica Taylor and Valerie Mack. Pic: Suffolk County Police
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(L-R) Shannan Gilbert, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, Jessica Taylor and Valerie Mack. Pic: Suffolk County Police

Police were left puzzled as to how the victims were killed, and in 2020, the unsolved murders became the subject of the Netflix film “Lost Girls”.

Heuermann’s charges come after a task force, made up of the FBI, New York State Police and Suffolk County authorities was set up in February 2020 to “reinvigorate” the investigation.

In May 2022, police released 911 audio related to Ms Gilbert’s disappearance. She initially called police from inside the home of a client shortly before 5am.

“There is somebody after me,” she told the dispatcher multiple times. “Somebody’s after me – please,” she said.

On Friday morning, the district attorney said there had been a “significant development in the case” but declined to comment any further.

Neighbours of Heuermann told NBC that the family “kept to themselves” and were “like loners”.

Patrica Maressa, 64, said Heuermann lived in the home with his wife, a son and a daughter. He worked at a Manhattan architecture firm and was a member of an NYC-based networking group known as The Dream Team, NBC reported.

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