Suspect Arrested In Long Island Serial Killings
Over a decade after the remains of 11 people were found along Long Island’s Gilgo Beach, police have arrested a suspect in the case.
On July 14, 2023, the Suffolk County Police Department announced they had taken a suspect into custody in connection with the Long Island serial killings.
Rex Heuermann has been identified as the suspect in the killings of 11 people whose remains were found along Gilgo Beach between 2010 and 2011.
Heuermann was charged with three counts of first-degree murder for the killings of Melissa Barthelemy in 2009, and Megan Waterman and Amber Costello the following year, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney. He is also the prime suspect in the murder of a fourth woman, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, but has yet to be charged in that case.
The victims’ bodies were found while police were looking for Shannan Gilbert. Gilbert was just 24 years old and working as an escort when she went missing in the early morning hours of May 1, 2010 after visiting a client in Oak Beach, Long Island.
On Dec. 11, 2010, a police officer out searching for Shannan came across human remains in the underbrush off of Ocean Parkway. Two days later, officers searched the same location and came across another set of human remains, then another, then another.
The first four sets of remains were identified as Melissa Barthelemy, Amber Costello, Megan Waterman, and Maureen Brainard-Barnes. They were each found strangled, wrapped in burlap, and placed within about 500 feet of one another. According to PEOPLE, All four women had worked as online escorts and had been missing between 2007 and 2010.
As police kept searching that area, they found even more bodies. In total, 10 sets of human remains were found between December 2010 and April 2011, according to NBC New York. Police suspected this was the work of a serial killer, who would eventually become known as the ‘Long Island Serial Killer’.
Gilbert’s body was found in December 2011 in a marshy area near Oak Beach – not far from where the other bodies had been discovered. On Dec. 13, 2011, police released a statement saying they believed Shannan’s death was accidental and not believed to be connected to the other victims. Her family, however, don’t believe this was an accident.
"It doesn't matter if people believe she's a victim of the Long Island serial killer or not. Something happened to her that night. She ran for her life. She was in fear," Shannan's sister Sherre Gilbert told CBS News in 2022.
For more on this case, stream People Magazine Investigates: "The Long Island Serial Killer: The Lost Girls" on Max.
*This article was originally published on 07/14/23 and updated on 07/17/23.
Over a decade after the remains of 11 people were found along a Long Island beach, police released new surveillance video of one of the victims shortly before meeting her killer.
Law enforcement has made an arrest in the case of the Long Island Serial Killer (covered on Unraveled in Season 1). On this update episode: Who is the suspect? How did they identify him? And what is the fallout for family and those close to the case?