RIVERHEAD - Rex Heuermann, the architect accused of murdering at least three women and leaving their bodies along a remote stretch of coastline near Long Island’s Gilgo Beach, appeared in court on Tuesday for the first time since his arraignment.
Heuermann is charged with killing Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Lynn Costello, who disappeared in 2009 and 2010. Prosecutors say he’s also suspected in the death of a fourth woman, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, who vanished in 2007.
Rex Heuermann, the architect accused of murdering at least three women and leaving their bodies along Gilgo Beach, appears in court on Tuesday. (Pool photo via Newsday / James Carbone)
All of the women were sex workers whose remains were discovered near each other on a barrier island off Long Island's southern coast.
Investigators spent nearly two weeks combing through Heuermann's home in Massapequa Park, across a bay from where the remains were found.
Accused Gilgo Beach killer Rex A. Heuermann appears before Judge Timothy P. Mazzei in Suffolk County Court on Tuesday, August 1, 2023. (Pool photo via Newsday / James Carbone)
The search included digging up the yard, dismantling a porch and a greenhouse and removing many contents of the house for testing. Heuermann's wife, Asa Ellerup, told the New York Post that the search left the home in shambles, with belongings piled in heaps, part of her bathtub cut away and furniture broken up.
"My couch was completely shredded. I don’t even know if there’s any parts to the couch," said Ellerup, who filed for divorce after her husband was arrested. She said her two adult children, who also live in the house, were crying themselves to sleep.
An attorney for the adult children, Vess Mitev, said his clients were considering legal action against police for the "deplorable and roughshod handling of the investigation that turned upside down their lives, their home, their very status in the social hierarchy."
"In the haste and zeal to arrest Mr. Heuermann, we believe certain things were done that shouldn’t have been done," he added.
Heuermann has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He was ordered jailed without the possibility of bail in his first court appearance in mid-July.
Investigators say they cracked the case with the help of sophisticated cell phone location data analysis, DNA evidence and an old tip about a vehicle seen parked outside the home of one of the victims.
This story has been corrected to reflect that Melissa Barthelemy disappeared in 2009, not 2010.