Gilgo Beach serial killer suspect allegedly has more victims, hunting grounds than police first imagined

Gilgo Beach suspect Rex Heuermann faces new charges in the murders of two more women

Suspected Long Island serial killer Rex Heuermann is returning to a New York courthouse Thursday to be charged with killing two more women.

Heuermann faces two new murder charges in the deaths of Jessica Taylor in July 2003 and Sandra Costilla in November 1993, according to court documents.

Police arrested the 59-year-old New York City architect last year in connection with three cold case murders and prosecutors secured an indictment for a fourth victim months later.

The Gilgo Beach murders went unsolved for more than a decade. And the case is broadening.

A task force with state and local investigators pieced together evidence that led them to their "ogre" suspect: an eyewitness description of his green Chevy Avalanche, records from a slew of burner phones, crime scene DNA and a discarded pizza crust.


Alleged Gilgo Beach serial killer Rex A. Heuermann appears in Judge Tim Mazzei’s courtroom next to his attorney Michael Brown

Alleged Gilgo Beach serial killer Rex A. Heuermann appears in Judge Tim Mazzei’s courtroom next to his attorney Michael Brown at Suffolk County Court in Riverhead on Wednesday, April 17, 2024. (James Carbone/Newsday/Pool)

In July 2023, they arrested Heuermann outside his Manhattan office and spent nearly two weeks scouring through his home in Massapequa Park, about 20 minutes from where police found the bodies of Melissa Barthelemy, 24; Megan Waterman, 22; and Amber Costello, 27, in 2010.

Prosecutors later tacked on charges for the murder of Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 25, whose remains they found near the others.

Portraits of the Gilgo Four victims inset over a wide shot of the marsh behind Gilgo Beach where they were found

The "Gilgo Four" clockwise from top left: Maureen Brainard-Barnes, Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Costello. The background shows a wooden cross in the marsh next to Gilgo Beach, New York, where their remains were found in the brush just yards from Ocean Parkway. (Suffolk County Police Department/Mega for Fox News Digital)

Collectively, those women are known as the Gilgo Four because they were found close together and under similar circumstances.


Shannan Gilbert missing woman Long Island

Shannan Gilbert’s remains were found near Oak Beach, New York on December 13, 2011.  (The family of Shannan Gilbert)

Police uncovered their remains in the brush along Ocean Parkway after another woman, Shannan Gilbert, vanished into the night after placing a panicked 911 call begging for help.

Police found seven other bodies further east along the highway. Most of the deaths remain under investigation. Gilbert was the last one in 2011.

Police said in 2020 that Gilbert's death appeared to be an accidental drowning, although her official cause of death is undetermined and a private autopsy conducted by Dr. Michael Baden found evidence of "homicidal strangulation."



Two of the other victims have been identified as Jessica Taylor and Valerie Mack, who were both dismembered and dumped in separate locations.

Police discovered their partial remains in Manorville in 2000 and 2003. Additional remains of both victims were uncovered near the Gilgo victims.

Closeup portrait Photos of Jessica Taylor and Valerie Mack.

Jessica Taylor, left, and Valerie Mack, right, were both murdered and dismembered. Suffolk County police discovered partial remains of each victim in both Manorville, N.Y., and along a stretch of Ocean Parkway near Gilgo Beach. (Suffolk County Police Department/Handout)

K-9 units conducted a search in Manorville in April and then served a second search warrant on Heuermann's house in May. Police returned to the North Sea area further east, where they had found the body of a woman named Sandra Costilla in 1993.

The prime suspect in Costilla's death was another serial killer, former Manorville carpenter John Bittrolff, who is currently in prison for two other murders.

If Heuermann is responsible for any of the deaths out east, his suspected killing spree would have started decades earlier than previously known.

Heuermann has pleaded not guilty to murder charges in connection with the Gilgo Four.

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