APTOPIX Long Island Serial Killings

Authorities continue to work at the home of suspect Rex Heuermann, bottom right, in Massapequa Park, N.Y., on Monday. Heuermann has been charged with killing at least three women in the long-unsolved slayings known as the Gilgo Beach killings. Seth Wenig/Associated Press

The Long Island architect charged with murdering three women in what has become known as the Gilgo Beach serial killings kept 279 guns at the “cluttered” home where he lived with his family, officials said Tuesday.

Rex A. Heuermann’s cache of weapons included long guns, in addition to the 92 handguns for which he had permits, Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney told reporters gathered outside the suspect’s low-slung house in Massapequa Park, N.Y.

Investigators on Tuesday finished combing through Heuermann’s home for evidence. Heuermann has pleaded not guilty to the slayings, which have been a subject of public fascination for more than a decade. The search for traces of blood, DNA, or victims’ hair fibers, as well as more tangible evidence, yielded what Tierney categorized as “a massive amount of material.”

“We won’t know exactly what we have for quite some time, just given the sheer volume of evidence that was taken,” he said at the news conference.

During the several-day search, a team used ground-piercing technology to identify and unearth multiple items buried in Heuermann’s yard. Drone footage showed an excavator scooping dirt and investigators digging with shovels, the Associated Press reported.

No human remains were immediately discovered, and Tierney said there was no indication yet that any women were killed inside the house. Nothing suggests that Heuermann’s family was aware of his alleged crimes, officials have said.


Heuermann’s July 13 arrest marked the first major break in the case – which sparked a seven-part podcast and a Netflix series – since authorities found the remains of Amber Lynn Costello, Melissa Barthelemy, and Megan Waterman along Long Island’s south shore in 2010. All the women were in their 20s and performed sex work.

The remains of eight other people also were discovered in the same string of remote seaside towns, bringing the total number of dead to 11. Authorities have publicly linked Heuermann to four of those deaths, with the 59-year-old also considered the prime suspect in the killing of Maureen Brainard-Barnes, according to prosecutors’ application to hold him without bail.

Long Island Serial Killings

Rex Heuermann

A renewed effort to make an arrest began in February 2022, when federal, state, and local investigators launched an interagency task force dedicated to the slayings. Six weeks later, authorities said, they identified Heuermann as a suspect after a state database revealed that his black Chevrolet Avalanche matched a car thought to be the killer’s.

Other similarities to the killer, as well as records for seven burner phones registered to Heuermann, strengthened authorities’ theory. As officials watched him, Heuermann conducted more than 200 internet searches related to the investigation. He also searched for “sadistic materials” and images of the victims and made “taunting calls” to a relative of one of them, prosecutors allege.

Early this year, investigators swabbed pizza crust that Heuermann left in a New York garbage can and matched it to DNA on a hair found on Waterman in June, court documents say. The task force continued to watch Heuermann until this month, when, the district attorney said, something – which he did not specify – indicated authorities needed to bring charges.

Heuermann’s next court date is Aug. 1. Tierney emphasized Tuesday that processing and identifying all the objects taken from Heuermann’s home will take time.

“When you look at all the evidence at once, it’s an enormous undertaking,” he said.


The Washington Post’s Shera Avi-Yonah and Dan Rosenzweig-Ziff contributed to this report.

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