Suspect Arrested in Serial Killings of Women Near Gilgo Beach

It is at once at horrific story of depravity and horror for the families and victims preyed on by Rex Heuermann and at the same time an example of “The Law of Cause & Effect” in action. All this time, but the wheels never stopped turning until all the little threads of evidence came together and identified the despicable villain. He thought he was too clever to ever be caught, but he was badly mistaken. Suspect Arrested in Serial Killings of Women Near Gilgo Beach

He had never been properly taught, that just like everything else in nature, “What Goes Around Comes Around,” as surely as night follows day. The time frame it can take may throw us off from believing it is actually true, to the chagrin of every person who habitually brings harm to others.

“The author gives readers not just points or principles to ponder, but real human experiences that demonstrate them!
Kirkus Reviews
Buy What Goes Around at Amazon

“I’ve read a number of books that focus on sharing a similar message, including “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, “The Answer” by John Assaraf & Murray Smith, “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield, “Think and Grow Rich,” by Napoleon Hill, and I must say that I find Rob’s to be my favorite. – Sheryl Woodhouse, founder of Livelihood Matters LLC

Suspect Arrested in Serial Killings of Women Near Gilgo Beach

Rex Heuermann, a 59-year-old architect who lives in Nassau County, was charged with killing three women and is the “prime suspect” in the death of a fourth woman.

The bodies were unearthed near remote Gilgo Beach on Long Island’s South Shore more than a decade ago, terrifying residents and leaving the victims’ families bereft. In all, the remains of nine women, a man and a toddler were discovered.

Since then, investigators have tried to determine whether the killings had been committed by one person or by multiple attackers. But for more than a decade the cases went unsolved.

Then Rex Heuermann, an architect who had lived most of his life in Nassau County and worked in Manhattan, was taken into custody on Thursday, accused of killing three women and is suspected in the murder of a fourth. Before his arrest, investigators had sifted through clues as simple as a monogrammed belt wrapped around one of the victims and as sophisticated as the electronic signals of disposable mobile phones.

Mr. Heuermann was charged with three counts of first degree murder and three counts of second degree murder in the killings of Amber Lynn Costello, Megan Waterman and Melissa Barthelemy, whose bodies were found wrapped in hunting camouflage burlap within a quarter mile of each other on a stretch of beach. All had been in their 20s, petite and working as escorts. They disappeared between 2009 and 2010.

The remains of a fourth woman, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 25, who went missing in July 2007, were also found alongside their bodies and buried in a similar way.

Mr. Heuermann was not charged with the killing of Ms. Brainard-Barnes, but he “is the prime suspect in her death,” according to the bail application filed by Allen Bode, the chief assistant district attorney in Suffolk County. The evidence in her case “fits the modus operandi of the defendant.”

Prosecutors asked in the court papers that Mr. Heuermann be held without bail based on circumstances including “the serious, heinous nature of these serial murders,” the planning that went into them, the suspect’s history of firearm possession and “his recent searches for sadistic materials, child pornography, images of the victims and their relatives.”

Mr. Heuermann, who had been arrested in Midtown Manhattan on Thursday night, appeared Friday afternoon in a Suffolk County courthouse, where he spoke in a low voice only to identify himself.

Handcuffed, his hair disheveled, he grimaced and sighed as District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney described DNA evidence linking him to the crime, gathered from pizza crust, bottles and human hairs.

Mr. Tierney said Mr. Heuermann had licenses for 92 guns and an “irresistible” motive to flee.


Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney speaks at a lectern.
Raymond Tierney, district attorney of Suffolk County, said the suspect was heavily armed and had every reason to flee.Credit…Johnny Milano for The New York Times

Judge Richard Ambro said he was ordering him held “because of the extreme depravity of the allegations.”

Outside the courthouse, Michael Brown, Mr. Heuermann’s lawyer, said the evidence was circumstantial and that his client had wept, telling him, “I didn’t do this.”

“We’re looking forward to fighting this case in a court of law, not the court of public opinion,” he said.

Investigators said they linked Mr. Heuermann to the killings using not only DNA, but technology that pinpointed the locations of disposable cellular phones they believed the killer used to contact the victims in the hours before they disappeared.

“Rex Heuermann is a demon that walks among us, a predator that ruins families,” said Rodney K. Harrison, the Suffolk County commissioner. Despite criticism over the long investigation, he said, investigators had never been discouraged.

The Case Against Rex Heuermann

Suffolk County, N.Y., prosecutors argued against bail for Mr. Heuermann in a 32-page document that explicitly details the investigation into the Gilgo Beach killings. The New York Times has redacted phone numbers, email addresses, personal addresses and the names of private social media accounts. It has also redacted offensive material that was included in Mr. Heuermann’s internet searches.

The body of Ms. Barthelemy was the first that was discovered, on Dec. 11, 2010, when a police officer conducting a training exercise with his canine partner found her remains. Two days later, the police found the remains of the three other women.

Later that year, they found the remains of Valerie Mack, a 24-year-old mother from southern New Jersey who had paid the bills as an escort and had been missing for 20 years. The remains of six other people — four women, one man and a 2-year-old girl who was the daughter of one of the women — were also unearthed in the months that followed. Those six deaths remain unsolved.

“The work is not done, but this is a major, major step forward,” said Steve Bellone, the Suffolk County executive.

The families of some victims said the arrest of Mr. Heuermann made them feel optimistic that their loved ones’ cases would also be solved.

“I’m grateful for the hard work that has been done,” said Jasmine Robinson, a cousin of Jessica Taylor, a 20-year-old woman who had worked as an escort in New York. Some of her remains were found in 2003, soon after she went missing. More were found along Ocean Parkway around Gilgo Beach in early 2011.

“I’m grateful that today is happening,” Ms. Robinson said. “And I’m hopeful for the future.”


Jasmine Robinson, flanked by a woman with a green folder and a man with a purple hat.
Jasmine Robinson, center, said that the arrest gave her hope that her cousin’s slaying would be solved.Credit…Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Associated Press

Prosecutors laid out an intricate investigation that saw a break in March 2022 when investigators discovered that Mr. Heuermann had owned a Chevrolet Avalanche truck at the time of the killings. A witness had seen an Avalanche parked in one of the murdered women’s driveways shortly before she disappeared, Mr. Bode, the prosecutor, wrote in his filing.

By the time detectives learned of the truck, they had already narrowed their search to several men who were in a small area of Massapequa Park where cell-site information had led them to believe that the killer lived, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Investigators learned that the killer had used burner phones to contact victims in the hours before they disappeared. Using mapping technology, they found that the calls to the victims originated from two key locations connected to Mr. Heuermann: near his home on First Avenue in Massapequa Park and parts of Midtown Manhattan near his office at Fifth Avenue and 36th Street.

It was near that office that a series of “taunting” calls was made to Ms. Barthelemy’s family, using her phone, according to the court filing. One came in July 2009 to Ms. Barthelemy’s sister, Amanda.

“Do you think you’ll ever speak to her again?” a bland, calm voice said to her, according to a person with knowledge of the call.

When she told the caller that she hoped to talk to her sister again, he replied that he had killed her after having sex with her. Several seconds later, the caller hung up.

Investigators learned that Mr. Heuermann used burner phones to contact prostitutes or massage parlors and used false names to set up an email account to search for “sex workers, sadistic, torture-related pornography” and imagery and videos of women and children being sexually assaulted.

The account was also used to send selfies “to solicit and arrange for sexual activity” and to search for podcasts and documentaries related to the investigation. He “repeatedly” viewed “hundreds of images depicting the murdered victims and members of their immediate families,” Mr. Bode wrote.

Mr. Heuermann also searched for articles about a task force set up in 2022 to investigate the killings.

But while he was finding out about the task force, it was finding out about him. In July 2022, a detective took 11 bottles from a trash can outside Mr. Heuermann’s house. Investigators compared DNA from the bottles to DNA extracted from hairs found on some of the bodies.

It was an apparent match for Mr. Heuermann’s wife, who had been out of the country or out of state when each of the three women disappeared. Detectives concluded that Mr. Heuermann had somehow transferred his wife’s hair to the victims.

By January 2023, Mr. Heuermann was under regular surveillance, and investigators saw him throw a pizza box into a sidewalk garbage can outside his office building. The Suffolk County Crime Laboratory swabbed the discarded crusts for DNA, which in June matched with a hair found on Ms. Waterman’s body.


An officer on horseback in a thicket.
Investigators combed through remote areas of Long Island in 2011 as bodies kept appearing.Credit…Robert Stolarik for The New York Times

Mr. Tierney said that the task force used a grand jury to issue more than 300 subpoenas and search warrants. The grand jury helped investigators quietly pursue Mr. Heuermann, Mr. Tierney said during a news conference.

“We knew this one person would be watching,” he said.

Mr. Heuermann lived most, if not all, of his life in a tidy working-class suburb roughly an hour by train or car from Midtown Manhattan.

Neighbors said he had attended Alfred G. Berner High School and lived in his longtime family home, which had vegetation on a roof that was partly supported by bare wood. With its cracked and faded shingles and unkempt yard, the small house stood out from the neatly kept homes on the block.

Neighbors said they avoided it on Halloween.

Residents described Mr. Heuermann as an “average” man who went to the Massapequa Park station every day, wearing a suit and toting a briefcase. “You’d never think he was anything but a businessman,” said a neighbor, Barry Auslander.

In a February 2022 interview, Mr. Heuermann described himself as an architect and consultant who closely read building and administrative codes and kept an “extensive library of obsolete books.”

“I’m a troubleshooter, born and raised on Long Island, been working in Manhattan since 1987 — very long time,” he said in the 18-and-a-half-minute interview with Antoine Amira, a real estate agent and host of a show called Bonjour Realty on YouTube, who spoke with Mr. Heuermann at his office.

On Friday, police officers and reporters swarmed the white and beige brick building where Mr. Heuermann worked. Around 3:15 p.m., law enforcement officers left carrying boxes, a mallet and other large tools as curious passers-by stared.

In the interview with Mr. Amira, Mr. Heuermann said his father was an aerospace engineer who helped build satellites and crafted furniture at home. Mr. Heuermann said he also built furniture out of a workshop at his house.

Sitting at a desk and dressed in a light blue button-down shirt, Mr. Heuermann described the “patience” and “tolerance” needed to deal with out-of-town architects intimidated by New York’s byzantine building regulations.

His job, he said, taught him more about “how to understand people.”

At the end of the interview, Mr. Amira asked Mr. Heuermann to pose for a selfie. Mr. Heuermann, a 6-foot-4, heavyset man who towered over Mr. Amira, put on a pair of black sunglasses.

“Can you smile?” Mr. Amira asked.

Mr. Heuermann replied that he was smiling.

Kirkus Reviews, the gold-standard for independent & accurate reviews, has this to say about

What Goes Around Comes Around:

A stable, positive, non preachy, objective voice makes the book stand apart from others in the genre. A successful guide that uses anecdotes to reveal powerful truths about life.

~ Kirkus Reviews

“The author gives readers not just points or principles to ponder, but real human experiences that demonstrate them!
Kirkus Reviews
Buy What Goes Around at Amazon

“I’ve read a number of books that focus on sharing a similar message, including “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, “The Answer” by John Assaraf & Murray Smith, “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield, “Think and Grow Rich,” by Napoleon Hill, and I must say that I find Rob’s to be my favorite. – Sheryl Woodhouse, founder of Livelihood Matters LLC

Suspect Arrested in Serial Killings of Women Near Gilgo Beach

Suspect Arrested in Serial Killings of Women Near Gilgo Beach

Here’s a case of “Group malfeasance, blamed on poor judgement, from the consumption of too much wine!” A nine month investigation of the American chapter of “The Court of Master Sommeliers” has revealed a widespread expectation/demand of sexual favors in return for mentoring female applicants, undergoing the rigorous exam process, required for membership and recognition as an official Sommellier. 

This follows the complaint of 21 women that their supposed mentors, had pressured them for sex, apparently a well-established condition with a long history. So far 22 men have been investigated. 

The point being, that when a lowly activity becomes “institutionalized” in a grouping of people, ie: company, sport, union, association, religion, etc, it can go on undetected for a long time. It may even acquire an almost “accepted as part of the game” kind of cover, with those participating considering it, “just one of their perks”, and no big deal! That is, until someone blows the lid off.

That’s when everything changes for those who took part. It is not after all, that they didn’t know there was something amiss about the game they were playing. They just thought they had a really good cover! Instead, that cover just went poof, as all covers eventually do. Just another example that, “What Goes Around Comes Around!” Its just difficult to predict when. 

Colombo Family Crime Boss and 12 Others Are Arrested, Prosecutors Say

An indictment unsealed on Tuesday accuses the organization of orchestrating a two-decade scheme to extort a labor union.

Credit…Jesse Ward


For two decades, the leadership of the Colombo crime family extorted a Queens labor union, federal prosecutors said — an effort that continued unabated even as members of the mob clan cycled through prison, the family’s notorious longtime boss died, and as federal law enforcement closed in.

Over time, what began as a Colombo captain’s shakedown of a union leader, complete with expletive-laced threats of violence, expanded into a cottage industry, prosecutors said, as the Colombo organization assumed control of contracting and union business, with side operations in phony construction certificates, marijuana trafficking and loan-sharking.

On Tuesday, 11 reputed members and associates of the Colombo crime family, including the mob clan’s entire leadership, were charged in a labor racketeering case brought by the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn.

All but two of the men were arrested Tuesday morning across New York and New Jersey, prosecutors said. Another was surrendered to the authorities on Tuesday; another defendant, identified as the family consigliere, remained at large, prosecutors said.

The indictment accuses the Colombo family of orchestrating a two-decade scheme to extort an unnamed labor union that represented construction workers, using threats of violence to secure payments and arrange contracts that would benefit the crime family.

The charges are an ambitious effort by the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to take down one of the city’s five Mafia families. In addition to the union extortion scheme, which is the heart of the racketeering charge, the indictment charges several misdeeds often associated with the mob, including drug trafficking, money laundering, loan-sharking and falsifying federal labor safety paperwork.

Detention hearings for the defendants in Brooklyn federal court continued into the evening Tuesday, as they entered not-guilty pleas to the charges; prosecutors had asked the court to keep 10 of the defendants in custody.

“Everything we allege in this investigation proves history does indeed repeat itself,” Michael J. Driscoll, F.B.I. assistant director-in-charge, said in a statement. “The underbelly of the crime families in New York City is alive and well.”

Around 2001, prosecutors said, Vincent Ricciardo — a reported captain in the family, also known as “Vinny Unions” — began to demand a portion of a senior labor union official’s salary. When Mr. Ricciardo was convicted and imprisoned on federal racketeering charges in the mid-2000s, prosecutors said, his cousin continued to collect those payments.

Starting in late 2019, prosecutors said, the senior leadership of the Colombo family became directly involved in the shakedown, which extended to broader efforts to siphon money from the union: for example, manipulating the selection of union health fund vendors to contract with entities connected to the family, and diverting more than $10,000 each month from the fund to the family.

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Andrew Russo, 87, who prosecutors describe as the family boss, is accused of taking part in those efforts, as well as a money-laundering scheme to send the proceeds of the union extortion through intermediaries to Colombo associates. He was among nine defendants charged with racketeering.

Mr. Russo appeared in court virtually from the hospital Tuesday; he is set to be detained upon his release, pending a future bail hearing.

The family’s infamous longtime boss, Carmine J. Persico, died in federal custody in North Carolina in March 2019.

Federal law enforcement learned of the extortion scheme about a year ago, prosecutors wrote in a court filing Tuesday; investigators gathered thousands of hours of wiretapped calls and conversations recorded by a confidential witness, wrote the prosecutors, who also described law-enforcement surveillance of meetings among the accused conspirators.

The authorities said they repeatedly captured Mr. Ricciardo and his associates threatening to kill the union official. “I’ll put him in the ground right in front of his wife and kids,” Mr. Ricciardo was recorded saying in June.

On another occasion cited by prosecutors in the memo seeking his detention, Mr. Ricciardo directed the union official to hire a consultant selected by the Colombo family, saying: “It’s my union and that’s it.” Prosecutors said his activities were overseen by a Colombo soldier and the consigliere who remains at large.

Much of the activity outlined in the indictment took place while the defendants were either in prison or on supervised release for prior federal mob-related convictions. Theodore Persico Jr., described as a family captain and soldier, was released from federal prison in 2020 and, despite a directive not to associate with members of organized crime, “directed much of the labor racketeering scheme,” prosecutors said.

Mr. Persico, 58, is set to inherit the role of boss after Mr. Russo, prosecutors wrote.

Several of the defendants were named in what prosecutors described as a fraudulent safety training scheme, in which they falsified state and federal paperwork that is required for construction workers to show they have completed safety training courses.

One of the defendants, John Ragano — whom prosecutors say is a soldier in the Bonanno crime family — is accused of setting up phony occupational safety training schools in New York, which prosecutors said were “mills” that provided fraudulent safety training certificates to hundreds of people.

In October 2020, prosecutors said, an undercover law enforcement officer visited one of the schools in Ozone Park, Queens, and received, from Mr. Ricciardo’s cousin, a blank test form and an answer sheet; weeks later, the agent returned to pick up his federal safety card and paid $500.

The purported schools were also used for meetings with members of La Cosa Nostra — the group of crime families commonly known as the Mafia — and to store illegal drugs and fireworks, according to the indictment.

Mr. Ragano wasn’t charged on the racketeering count, although prosecutors also sought his detention pending trial. In addition to the racketeering count, several defendants, including Mr. Ricciardo and his cousin, were charged with extortion, conspiracy, fraud and conspiracy to make false statements.

William K. Rashbaum contributed reporting.


An earlier version of this article misstated the number of people identified in an indictment as members of the Colombo crime family. It is 11, not more than a dozen.