Gilgo Beach murders suspect’s firm carried out work at Trump Building

New York City Department of Buildings records reveal Rex Heuermann’s firm was hired by a third party for a plumbing job at the Trump Building in 2018

Rachel Sharp,Andrea Blanco
Thursday 20 July 2023 12:18 BST
Gilgo Beach: Neighbour claims he confronted suspected killer for leering at his wife

The Gilgo Beach serial killer suspect’s architecture business was hired for a 2018 project at the Trump Building in New York City, according to unearthed records.

Rex Heuermann, 59, was arrested last week and charged with the murders of Amber Costello, Megan Waterman and Melissa Barthelemy, who vanished between 2007 and 2010 before their bodies were found dumped in Gilgo Beach.

The suspect lived in Massapequa Park, Long Island, with his wife and two adult children and ran the architecture firm RH Consultants & Associates in Midtown Manhattan.

Now, New York City Department of Buildings records obtained by real state publication The Real Deal have revealed that Mr Heuermann’s firm was hired in 2018 by a third party for a plumbing job at the Trump Building on 40 Wall Street.

The cost of the work, which was completed in 2018, was roughly $200,000.

A spokesperson for the Trump Organization told the publication that the now-suspected serial killer was never hired for work at the company.

“Mr Heuermann has never worked for the Trump Organization in any capacity,” the spokesperson said.

“According to our records, he was hired by a third-party tenant, who vacated years ago, to perform minor architectural work in their individual space.”

It’s unclear whether Mr Heuermann ever visited the Trump Organization building as part of the job his firm was hired to do. It is also unclear whether the work was carried out by Mr Heuermann personally or by other employees at the company.

There is no suggestion that Mr Trump was involved in the work or even knew that Mr Heuermann had been hired.

At the time, he had already handed over management of the Trump Organization to his sons Eric and Don Jr – following him being elected president.

The Independent has reached out to the Trump Organization for comment.

Surveillance image of Rex Heuermann in a store in New York
Surveillance image of Rex Heuermann in a store in New York (AP)

Mr Heuermann founded the architecture business in 1994 and worked as president there up until his arrest. His adult daughter also works for the firm.

According to the company website, Mr Heuermann’s company has worked with the likes of Catholic Charities, NYC-DEP Sewerage Treatment and American Airlines and other major tenants at the JFK International Airport over the almost three decades it has been in business.

A company page called Meet The Team and featuring his photo was taken down on Friday morning as news of his arrest broke.

Mr Heuermann was arrested on Thursday night as he left his office in Midtown Manhattan.

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

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” and was last seen alive in early June 2007 in New York City.

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

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

Authorities search the home of suspect Rex Heuermann
Authorities search the home of suspect Rex Heuermann (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Court records show that Mr Heuermann was linked to the killings through a pimp’s tip about his pickup truck, a stash of burner phones, “sadistic” online searches, phone calls taunting victims’ families, his wife’s hair found on the victims’ bodies – and a pizza crust.

The first piece of the puzzle came when a witness in the Amber Costello case revealed details about a vehicle that a client was driving when she was last seen alive.

Costello, who worked as a sex worker, was seen alive on the evening of 2 September 2010 when she left her home in West Babylon. A witness said she had gone to meet a client who was driving a first-generation Chevrolet Avalanche.

Last year, a registration search showed that local man Mr Heuermann owned a first-generation model of the truck at the time of Costello’s disappearance. He also matched the witness’ description of the man believed to be the killer: a large, white “ogre”-like male in his mid-40s, around 6’4’ to 6’6” tall, with “dark bushy hair,” and “big oval style 1970’s type eyeglasses”.

The discovery of the car led investigators to hone in on Mr Heuermann including executing 300 subpoenas, search warrants and other legal processes to obtain evidence to determine his potential involvement in the killings.

Among this was Mr Heuermann’s alleged use of burner phones, with prosecutors saying that he used burner phones to contact the three women and arrange to meet them at the time when they went missing.

He also allegedly took two of the victims’ cellphones – and used one to make taunting phone calls to one of their families where he boasted about her murder, court documents state.

Mr Heuermann’s DNA was found on one of the victims, while his wife’s hair was found on three of the four women he is connected to.

Prosecutors said that evidence shows his wife Asa Ellerup was out of town on each of the occasions that her husband allegedly struck.

Authorities remove a computer tower as they search the home of suspect Rex Heuermann
Authorities remove a computer tower as they search the home of suspect Rex Heuermann (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

On Wednesday, Ms Ellerup filed for divorce from her alleged killer husband.

Online court records show that Asa Ellerup – the accused serial killer’s wife of two decades and mother of his children – filed a matrimonial complaint in Suffolk County Supreme Court on Wednesday.

The filing – titled Asa Ellerup v Rex Heuermann – states that the divorce is “uncontested”.

The case records include a complaint, summons and a “notice concerning continuation of health care coverage” all filed on Wednesday, though the contents have not been made public.

Ms Ellerup is said to have been “shocked” and “disgusted” when she learned that her husband had been arrested and charged with three of the unsolved killings.

Ms Ellerup’s attorney Bob Macedonio told Fox News Digital outside Suffolk County Jail that she had filed for divorce after her life was “turned upside-down” by her husband’s alleged actions.

“This is all still a whirlwind,” he said. “Her and her children’s lives have been completely turned upside-down.”

The horrific serial killer case has captured the nation’s attention for more than a decade.

The Gilgo Beach murders had 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.

Melissa Barthelemy, Amber Costello, Maureen Brainard-Barnes and Megan Waterman (clockwise from top left)
Melissa Barthelemy, Amber Costello, Maureen Brainard-Barnes and Megan Waterman (clockwise from top left) (AP)

The case began in May 2010 when Shannan 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.

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 then 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.

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