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Long Island police search for ‘body parts’ in storage unit tied to Gilgo Beach murders suspect Rex Heuermann

Storage unit is just two miles from the married father-of-two’s home in Massapequa Park which investigators have been combing for evidence – and possible trophies and body parts – linking him to the slayings

Rachel Sharp
Monday 17 July 2023 22:56 BST
Moment Gilgo Beach suspect arrested in crowded New York street

Long Island police are searching for “body parts” in a storage unit tied to Gilgo Beach serial killer Rex Heuermann following his bombshell arrest last week.

Suffolk Police Officers executed a search warrant at a single unit at Omega Self Storage in Amityville late on Sunday night, according to PIX 11.

Police confirmed to the local outlet that the search was part of the investigation into the Manhattan architect’s alleged murders of at least three women whose bodies were found dumped on the shores of Gilgo Beach over a decade ago.

The storage unit is just two miles from the married father-of-two’s home in Massapequa Park which investigators have been combing for evidence – and possible trophies and body parts – linking him to the slayings.

“He’s a monster,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison told PIX 11. “It was a very cluttered house. He was like a pack rat.”

Mr Harrison commended the men and women in the interagency task force that led the renewed investigation into the Gilgo Beach murders. On 14 July, authorities seized Mr Heuermann’s Chevrolet Avalanche from his driveway – a vehicle matching the description of a car a witness saw on the night when one of the victims was last seen alive.

Mr Harrison said one of the lead investigators in the case had obtained a description matching Mr Heuermann’s appearance from a second interview to that key witness.

“We were now able to link that Avalanche to that little box in Massapequa Park,” Mr Harrison said. “[The witness] pretty much said that [the suspect] had bushy hair and big glasses and was the size of an ogre and that helped us.”

When asked whether he believes Mr Heuermann is behind six more bodies found in the Gilgo Beach area, Mr Harrison only said that “time would tell” whether that was the case. The task force will remain in place as the investigation into the other victims’ murders is still active.

Over the weekend, multiple other items, including a trove of firearms, were also seized from the suspect’s home – a home he has lived in his whole life and which is located just a 20-minute drive from Gilgo Beach where the killer dumped the bodies of his victims.

A plastic tub full of rifles was taken from the family property and loaded into a police van, as it emerged that the Manhattan architect owned a large gun safe and had legal permits for a staggering 92 firearms.

A source told The New York Post that investigators are looking to see if the accused killer took any trophies from his victims.

“We’re just going through his house looking to see if there’s any evidence. If he has any trophies,” they said.

Search warrant executed at a storage unit linked to Rex Heuermann (News 12 Long Island)

Mr Heuermann, a 59-year-old Long Island native and married father-of-two, was taken into custody on the night of 13 July as he left his architecture office in Midtown Manhattan.

Dramatic video shows a team of plainclothes officers surrounding him and taking him into custody on the busy block.

He was charged with three counts of murder in the first degree and three in the second degree over the deaths of Megan Waterman, Melissa Barthelemy and Amber Costello.

The three women, who all worked as escorts, vanished without a trace. Their bodies were found in December 2011 during a search for Shannan Gilbert – a 24-year-old sex worker from New Jersey who vanished after visiting a client in Oak Park and making a chilling 911 call where she revealed fears for her life.

He is also the prime suspect in the murder of Maureen Brainard-Barnes – who together with the three is known as the “Gilgo Beach Four” – who was last seen alive in early June 2007 in New York City.

A crime laboratory officer moves a plastic bag of items as law enforcement searches the home of Rex Heuermann, Saturday, July 15, 2023, in Massapequa Park (AP)

The four women were found within one-quarter mile of each other, bound by belts or tape.

They are among 11 victims – mostly female sex workers – whose bodies were found in the Gilgo Beach area in 2010 and 2011.

Court records show that Mr Heuermann was linked to the killings with the help of a discarded pizza box, a trove of burner phones, and his wife’s hair which was found on a victim’s body.

He pleaded not guilty as he appeared in court on 14 July where he was ordered to be held without bond.

The Gilgo Beach murders have long stumped law enforcement officials in Suffolk County who believed it could be the work of one or more serial killers who targeted sex workers and dumped their bodies along the remote beaches on Ocean Parkway.

The case began in May 2010 when Gilbert vanished after leaving a client’s house on foot near Gilgo Beach.

She called 911 for help saying she feared for her life and was never seen alive again.

During a search for Gilbert in dense thicket close to the beach, police discovered the remains of another woman.

Within a matter of days, the remains of three more victims were found close by.

This booking image provided by Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office shows Rex Heuermann (AP)

By spring 2011, the remains of a total of 10 victims had been found including eight women, a man, and a toddler. Police have long thought that it could be the work of one or more serial killers.

Gilbert’s body was found in December 2011. Her cause of death is widely contested with authorities long claiming that it is not connected to the serial killer or killers but that she died from accidental drowning as she fled from the client’s home.

However, an independent autopsy commissioned by her family ruled that she died by strangulation and her mother believes she was murdered.

Like Gilbert, most of the victims targeted were sex workers while some are yet to be identified.

Investigations are continuing into the other murders.

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