Gilgo Beach Suspect Charged with 4th Murder

( – Suspected serial killer Rex Heuermann was charged with a fourth murder on January 16. He is already being held pending trial for what are being referred to as the Gilgo Beach serial killings. He has pleaded not guilty in the slayings of 27-year-old Amber Costello, 24-year-old Melissa Barthelemy, and 22-year-old Megan Waterman. When originally accused of those killings he was also considered the prime suspect in the slaying of 24-year-old Maureen Brainard-Barnes whose murder has now been added to his list of charges. He pleaded not guilty to the murder of Brainard-Barnes as well.

Heuermann’s attorney Michael Brown claims the DNA evidence is so weak that it could be used against as many as 600 people in just Nassau and Suffolk counties. However, Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney says the reason they waited to charge him with the slaying of Brainard-Barnes is that they were awaiting results from SNP process testing, which is considered a more advanced DNA testing whereby DNA is isolated from a blood sample which allows identification of genetic variations, known as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). He says the results were an overwhelming match for Heuermann.

The four women were among 11 people found in the Gilgo Beach area of Long Island, New York. While all the bodies were discovered by authorities in 2010 and 2011, they are believed to have died between 1996 and 2011. Authorities do not believe one person is responsible for all of the deaths. One of the bodies was ruled accidental drowning and three remain unidentified. The other identified remains were also women in their 20s and 30s. All of the identified victims were known to have worked as prostitutes in and around New Jersey and Manhattan.

Heuermann’s estranged wife Asa Ellerup along with daughter Victoria Heuermann and son Christopher Sheridan were present in court on Tuesday. All three were away in Atlantic city at the time of Brainard-Barnes although hair found on her body showed a genetic link to Ellerup. It is believed the hair may have been transferred to the body via contact with Heuermann. Brainard-Barnes’ family members were also present on Tuesday and made emotional statements about their lost loved one and exhorted people to remember all the victims, not just those whose cases are already being prosecuted.

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