Gilgo Beach murders: Suspect identified, charged with murder of 3 women

Rex Heuermann is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Costello.

ByAaron Katersky, Jon Haworth and Emily Shapiro ABCNews logo
Friday, July 14, 2023
Person in custody in connection with Gilgo Beach murders on Long Island
Kristin Thorne reports from Massapequa Park on the arrest of a person in connection with some of the Gilgo Beach murders.

NEW YORK -- A suspect has been arrested in connection with three of the 10 victims linked to the Gilgo Beach, New York, murders, authorities said.

Rex Heuermann is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Costello, whose bodies were found covered in burlap along Ocean Parkway on Long Island's South Shore, according to court records unsealed Friday in Suffolk County Criminal Court.

A fourth victim, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, was also tied to the three women. While Heuermann is not charged in the death of Brainard-Barnes, the court document said he is the "prime suspect in her death."

The suspect was arrested in Manhattan Thursday night, authorities said.

Police were led to the suspect through advanced communication analytics, according to the sources.

Law enforcement was seen outside the suspect's home in Massapequa Park on Long Island Friday morning.

The Massapequa Park address "has been on our radar for some time," a source close to the investigation told ABC News.

"This all came down to phone data," the source added.

Fears of a serial killer on the South Shore of Long Island began in 2010 with the discovery of a woman's body along Ocean Parkway.

Over the next year, the bodies of seven more women, a man and a toddler were discovered in the same general area.

In recent months, Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney and Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison invited the FBI to help and formed a task force focused on the case.

Investigators have long believed it was possible there was more than one killer because of the different conditions of the victims. Additionally, the wooded stretches along Ocean Parkway were long known as dumping grounds for bodies.

Jasmine Robinson, a cousin of victim Jessica Taylor, told reporters she was "shell shocked" by the arrest.

Taylor disappeared in 2003 at the age of 20. Her body was found in 2011.

"I hope that she's remembered as a beautiful young woman" and not as a sex worker, Robinson said.

Robinson said she is grateful for the hard work of law enforcement and hopes the investigation will continue.

"We have never stopped working on this case," Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said. "The work is not done here, but this is a major, major step forward in achieving a goal we have had from the very beginning -- and that is to bring closure to these families."

"I know there is a community out there that, as the facts unfold, will be sleeping a lot easier tonight," New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Friday. "And a lot of families, whose lives have been turned upside down, always wondering, questioning what happened, and will the perpetrator ever be brought to justice?"

"The day has finally come when someone so depraved of heart who would kill individuals, innocent individuals, in the prime of their young lives, is finally brought to justice," she said.

ABC News' Cristina Corbin and Peter Charalambous contributed to this report.