How the Gilgo Beach Homicide Investigation Has Progressed

New Details in Unsolved Long Island Murder Mystery—10 Dismembered Bodies were found scattered in Suffolk County and Nassau County. The Investigation was Renewed in 2022. NYC Architect Convicted of 3 Murders in 2023. More skeletal remains would eventually be identified.

Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney took office in January 2022. A Task Force to investigate the Gilgo Beach killings was formed in February 2022. The task force consists of the Suffolk County Police Department, the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, the New York State Police, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

DA Tierney said he made the Gilgo Beach murders—an unsolved case tied to at least 10 sets of remains discovered in suburban Long Island—a priority before he took office.

Authorities first found human remains while searching a remote stretch of Long Island for a different woman, Shannan Gilbert, in 2010. Prompted by the search for missing Shannan Gilbert, officers discovered skeletal remains along a stretch of Ocean Parkway. The bodies were found within about 500 feet of each other.

By the time Shannan Gilbert’s body was found one year after the search began on neighboring Oak Beach, investigators had unearthed 10 sets of human remains strewn across two Long Island Counties.

Four women were found wrapped in burlap and discovered within days of each other along Ocean Parkway. They were last seen between July 2007 and September 2010. More human remains were uncovered in Gilgo Beach and in Nassau County, about 40 miles east of New York City.

Officially known as Unknown Subject, a profile suggested that he is a white male of approximately 20 to 40 years of age. Police say that he is likely a Long Island resident with deep knowledge of the South Shore, and access to the burlap sacks that several of the victims were discovered in. Authorities theorized that the killer was someone familiar with law enforcement techniques.

Shannon Gilbert’s death has not been linked to the Gilgo Beach investigation by officials, who said, “Gilbert’s death is not consistent with her being the victim of violence or a violent offender,” but rather “an unfortunate accident.”

48 Hours Uncovers Missing Escort Shannan Gilbert’s Final Minutes (CBS News, July 14, 2023)

It was around dawn on a clear spring morning when Shannan Gilbert disappeared in Oak Beach, Long Island. A secluded, semi-private community at the eastern tip of a narrow barrier island, Oak Beach is a few miles from the line separating Nassau County from Suffolk.

Six years after the discovery of a possible serial killer on Long Island, police had still not apprehended any suspects. There may be one killer or multiple, working in tandem or just using the same dumping ground. It could be that the killer was simply cleverknowledgeable about the terrain on the barrier island and the gaps in police presence on its secluded beaches. Some have suggested early stages of the police investigation were compromised by leadership later charged with mishandling other cases—or by the fact that the leadership suddenly changed shortly after the discovery of Gilbert’s body. Moreover, many of these questions have focused on the death of Shannan Gilbert.

After the first bodies were found in 2010 and Shannan Gilbert was not among them, her disappearance took on a new urgency. For a year, Shannan was seen as a critical missing piece in an increasingly sinister puzzle. That left investigators to determine which (if any) of the cases were connected to a potential serial killer.

Ocean Parkway, Gilgo Beach, Long Island

Shannan Gilbert’s Disappearance

During the early morning hours of May 1, 2010, Shannan Gilbert, a Craigslist sex worker and resident of Jersey City, New Jersey, traveled with her driver, Michael Pak, from Manhattan to meet a client at his home in the Oak Beach Association.

Gilbert’s driver remained in his car while she met with the client. At some point during the meeting, Gilbert reportedly began acting irrational, prompting her client to contact the driver and have Gilbert leave his home. After refusing to leave the location at the request of her client, Gilbert eventually fled on foot past her driver into the Oak Beach community.

Gilbert knocked on several doors and interacted with two homeowners within the community before disappearing.

May 3, 2010: Shannan’s mother reported that Dr. Peter Hackett, an Oak Beach resident, called her and allegedly claimed that he “ran a home for wayward girls” and had treated Shannan on the morning of her disappearance. When asked how he obtained her phone number, he replied that Shannan had given it to him. Her mother was immediately suspicious because Shannan would not have given her number. Hackett later denied making the calls; however, phone records proved the calls occurred. Mari Gilbert would later file a wrongful death lawsuit against Dr. Hackett.

In two letters to CBS News, Dr. Peter Hackett admits to having called Shannan Gilbert’s mother in the days after her disappearance.

December 6, 2011: Shannan Gilbert’s pocketbook, ID, cell phone, jeans, and shoes are found while searching an Oak Beach marsh.

December 13, 2011: Shannan Gilbert’s body is discovered in the Oak Beach marsh a quarter mile from where her belongings were found. Homicide detectives spotted her remains at 9:14 a.m. Commissioner Dormer stated: “This may be just a young lady [who] ran into the brush in a hysterical state, fell down, and expired for some reason.”

May 2012: The Suffolk County Medical Examiners ruled that Shannan accidentally drowned after entering the marsh. They believed that she was in a drug-induced panic and concluded that hers was “death by misadventure” or “inclusive.”

Lawsuit Alleges Shannan Gilbert was Drugged by Dr. Hackett (Jaclyn Gallucci, Long Island Press, November 2012)

Shannan’s family did not believe she drowned and that her death was connected to the other serial killer victims. Forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden agreed to conduct an independent autopsy of Shannan Gilbert’s remains in hopes of determining a clear cause of death. The results of the second autopsy were released in February 2016. Dr. Baden stated, “There is insufficient information to determine a definite cause of death, but the autopsy findings are consistent with homicidal strangulation.” Baden also noted that Shannan’s body was found face-up, which is not common for drowning victims.

Police Commissioner Richard Dormer revealed that police now believe one serial killer is responsible and that Shannan Gilbert’s case is not connected. Dormer stated: “We believe that it’s just a coincidence that she went missing in Oak Beach and the bodies were found on Gilgo Beach.”

District Attorney Thomas Spota disagreed with Commissioner Dormer’s theory that a single killer was responsible. Edward Webber was named interim commissioner, replacing Richard Dormer, and James Burke was announced as Suffolk County’s Police Chief starting in 2012.

Initial Discovery of the Victims Remains

December 11, 2010: Police Officer John Malia was conducting a training exercise with his K9 partner, Blue, along Ocean Parkway in Gilgo Beach, Suffolk County, New York. During the course of the training exercise, Blue located a set of human remains. The remains were later identified to be those of Melissa Barthelemy. Two days later, on December 13, 2010, the SCPD continued to search in proximity to where the remains of Melissa Barthelemy were recovered. On that date, members of the SCPD found three additional sets of human remains within one-quarter mile of the first discovery. These three additional sets of remains were later identified as those of Maureen Brainard-Barnes, Megan Waterman, and Amber Costello. The cause of death of all four women was determined to be homicidal violence.

The investigations into these deaths were linked as, in addition to other factors, the victims each appeared to have been placed in close proximity to one another, 22 to 33 feet from the edge of the parkway, all were petite females, approximately 22 to 27 years old, believed to be working as sex workers, all had missing clothing and personal possessions, all had been killed by homicide, all had contact shortly before their disappearances with a person using a “burner” cellphone, and the cellphones of two of the four victims, Brainard-Barnes and Barthelemy, were used by the killer after their deaths. Each of the four victims was found similarly positioned, bound in a similar fashion by either belts or tape, with three of the victims found wrapped in a burlap-type material.

Gilgo Beach Search for Human Remains

Related Arrest Made

John Bittrolff was arrested in 2014 after his DNA was found on the bodies of two murder victims, Rita Tangredi and Colleen McNamee, whose bodies were found in 1993 and 1994, respectively. Bittrolff was convicted in May 2017 of these murders and, in September 2017, sentenced to consecutive terms of 25 years for each murder.

Bittrolff lived in Manorville, 30 miles from where the torsos of Gilgo Beach victims Jessica Taylor and Valerie Mack were recovered. Bittrolff was a hunter who was said to enjoy killing animals. He was a carpenter by trade with access to hacksaws and electric saws. Because many of the bodies were found precisely dismembered, his access to and proficiency with these tools is of note.

Prosecutor Robert Biancavilla said that Bittrolff was likely responsible for the deaths of other women and that there were similarities between the Gilgo Beach crime scenes and Bittrolff’s known murders.

The adult daughter of Rita Tangredi, who was murdered by Bittrolff, was also the best friend of Melissa Barthelemy, one of the Gilgo Beach victims. Melissa’s mother said that her daughter “had a lot of calls to Manorville from her phone” before her death.

Rex Heuermann Linked to Victims

In January 2022, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office assigned an experienced team of investigators, analysts, and prosecutors to work jointly with law enforcement partners from the Suffolk County Police Department, New York State Police, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, and Federal Bureau of Investigation. A comprehensive review of every item of evidence and information in this investigation was undertaken by the team.

On March 14, 2022, approximately two months into the renewed joint investigation, this comprehensive review led to the discovery of a first-generation Chevrolet Avalanche that was registered to Rex A. Heuermann at the time of these murders.

This was significant because a witness to the disappearance of Amber Costello identified a first-generation Chevrolet Avalanche as the vehicle believed to have been driven by her killer.

This discovery led to a comprehensive investigation of Heuermann, which consisted of over 300 subpoenas, search warrants, and other legal processes to obtain evidence. Among the items uncovered were cellphone billing records for Heuermann corresponding to cell site locations for 1) the burner cellphones used to arrange meetings with three of the four victims, 2) the taunting calls made to a relative of Ms. Barthelemy, 3) a call made by a detective to Ms. Barthelemy’s cellphone while looking into her disappearance and 4) calls checking voicemail on Ms. Brainard-Barnes’ cellphone after her disappearance.

Heuermann lived in Massapequa Park, where the victims were believed to have disappeared from, and he worked in Midtown Manhattan, in the vicinity where the taunting calls were made to the sister of Ms. Barthelemy. Rex A. Heuermann is believed to be the person who used the burner cell phones to communicate with each of the four victims before their disappearance and who used Ms. Brainard-Barnes’ cell phone and Ms. Barthelemy’s cell phone after their deaths. Both Heuermann and these burner cellphones had significant connections to both Midtown Manhattan and Massapequa Park, New York.

Rex Heuermann’s Arrest

Authorities began to seriously consider Heuermann as a suspect in March 2022 after discovering that a Chevrolet Avalanche registered in his name had been linked to one of the killings. According to investigators, his cellphone records indicate he had been in contact with three of the four victims, and an email account linked to Heuermann had conducted online searches of the investigation’s progress. 

As evidence was being presented to a grand jury, leaks about a possible break in the case emerged, and authorities decided to arrest Heuermann before he could flee.

New York Architect Arrested in Long Island Serial Killings (Matt Meyer and Meg Warner, CNN, July 2023)

Rex Heuermann, 59, was charged with six counts of murder in connection with the deaths of three of four women who in death became known as the “Gilgo Four,” according to the Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney. He was charged with one count of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder in each of the three killings—Melissa Barthelemy in 2009 and Megan Waterman and Amber Costello in 2010—according to the indictment.  All of the women worked as escorts, according to officials.

Officials first identified suspect Rex Heuermann, an architect who lived on Long Island with an office in New York City, in a database more than a year ago, Tierney said. 

From there, officials used “the power of the grand jury” in the form of more than 300 subpoenas and search warrants used to look into Heuermann’s background, Tierney said.

Authorities issued more than 300 subpoenas and search warrants in their long investigation into the suspect charged in three long-unsolved Long Island murders, DA Tierney said.

Investigators went through phone records collected from both midtown Manhattan and the Massapequa Park area of Long Island—two areas connected to a burner phone they had tied to the killings. In court, prosecutors later said the burner phone was identified via an email account used to “solicit and arrange for sexual activity.” The victims were escorts who advertised on Craigslist, according to officials.

They then narrowed records collected by cell towers to thousands, then to hundreds, and finally down to a handful of people who could match a suspect in the killings.

From there, authorities focused on people who lived in the area of the cell tower and also matched a physical description given by a witness who had seen the suspected killer.

In that narrowed pool, they searched for a connection to a pickup truck that a witness had seen the suspect driving, the sources said.

Investigators eventually landed on Rex Heuermann, who they say matched a witness’ physical description, lived close to the Long Island cell site, and worked near the New York City cell sites that captured the other calls.

They also learned he had often driven a green pickup truck registered to his brother, officials said. But they needed more than just circumstantial evidence.

They also noted his alleged use of “fictitious names, burner email, and cell phone accounts, and his access to and history of possessing firearms.” prosecutors said Heuermann had recently searched for disturbing content online, including child pornography.

Melissa Barthelemy

The indictment alleges Heuermann caused the death of Melissa Barthelemy, with intent, “on or about July 10, 2009.” Barthelemy’s body was found in the County of Suffolk “on or about December 11, 2010.”

24-year-old Melissa Barthelemy was last seen outside her apartment on Underhill Avenue in the Bronx. She had arranged a $1,000 date with a client the next night somewhere on Long Island. On the night she went missing, she met with a client, deposited $900 in her bank account, and attempted to call an old boyfriend but did not get through. Beginning one week later and lasting for five weeks, her teenage sister Amanda received a series of “vulgar, mocking, and insulting” calls from a man who may have been the killer using Melissa Barthelemy’s cell phone. The caller asked if Amanda “was a whore like her sister.” Her body was discovered beside Ocean Parkway near Gilgo Beach. She had been strangled. The calls became increasingly disturbing and culminated in the caller telling Amanda that her sister was dead and that he was going to watch her rot. Police traced some of the calls to Madison Square Garden, Midtown Manhattan, and Massapequa.

Megan Waterman

The indictment said Heuermann caused the death of Megan Waterman, with intent, “on or about June 6, 2010.” Waterman’s body was found in the County of Suffolk “on or about December 13, 2010.”

22-year-old Megan Waterman was last seen in Hauppauge, NY, walking toward a nearby convenience store. She had been staying in a Holiday Inn Express in Hauppauge and was captured by a security camera walking out of the hotel at around 1:30 a.m. She had been reported missing in June 2010. Her body was discovered in December 2010 beside Ocean Parkway near Gilgo Beach. She had been strangled.

Amber Costello

The indictment claims Heuermann caused the death of Amber Costello, with intent, “on or about September 2, 2010.” Costello’s body was found in the County of Suffolk “on or about December 13, 2010.”

27-year-old Amber Costello was last seen by her roommate leaving her home in North Babylon to meet a client. The client had called three or four times and offered Amber $1,500 for her services.  Her family believed that she was in a residential drug rehabilitation center, so she was not immediately reported missing when she stopped responding to messages and phone calls. Her body was discovered beside Ocean Parkway near Gilgo Beach. She had been strangled. The police revealed her identity on January 24, 2011.

How NYC Architect was Linked to Three Women’s Remains Found on Gilgo Beach

Was There One Serial Killer or Multiple Killers Dumping Bodies on Long Island?

February 1, 1982: 19-year-old Tina Foglia was last seen on February 1, 1982, at the Hammerheads music venue in West Islip, New York. Her dismembered body was discovered by Department of Transportation workers on February 3 on the shoulder of the Sagtikos State Parkway in Suffolk County. Her remains were placed in three garbage bags found a few miles north of the Robert Moses Causeway, which leads to Gilgo Beach and Oak Beach. The DNA of an unknown male was found on the bags. Police did not suspect a serial killer was involved.

April 20, 1996: Two female legs, wrapped in a plastic bag, were discovered on the bayside shore of Fire Island one mile west of Davis Park Beach. This unidentified victim was referred to as the Fire Island Jane Doe. The victim’s skull would later be found on April 11, 2011, west of Tobay Beach in Nassau County. Here, she was named Jane Doe #7. The two sets of remains were later linked by DNA.

34-year-old Karen Vergata’s severed legs were found in a garbage bag. 15 years later, her skull and several teeth were recovered at Tobay Beach. It was the second set of remains discovered in Nassau County that day.

June 28, 1997: The dismembered torso of a young African-American female was found in Hempstead Lake State Park in the town of Lakeview, New York. She had a tattoo of a heart-shaped peach on her left breast and was given the name Peaches. Her torso was found in a green plastic Rubbermaid container, which was dumped next to a road along the west side of the lake. Police estimate she had died less than 3 days before being discovered.  On April 11, 2011, police discovered skeletal human remains inside a plastic bag near Jones Beach State Park, referred to as Jane Doe #3. In December 2016, Peaches and Jane Doe #3 were positively identified as being the same person.  DNA analysis identified Peaches as the mother of Baby Doe. Both were found wearing similar jewelry.

June 20, 2000: An unidentified female torso was recovered near 88th Street in Rockaway Beach, Queens. The torso was found in plastic bags and wrapped with tape. No other body parts were recovered. The victim was later identified as 16-year-old Jacqueline Smith. She was last seen in Brooklyn on August 7, 1999. She had left her home to visit friends and never came back. She was reported missing on August 12.

November 19, 2000: The torso of a woman was discovered by hikers in the Long Island Pine Barrens in Manorville. The torso was found wrapped in garbage bags and dumped in the woods near Halsey Manor Road. She was named the Manorville Jane Doe. April 4, 2011, a skull, pair of hands, and right foot were found in a plastic bag near Ocean Parkway on Gilgo Beach. These remains would be designated as Jane Doe #6 until being linked by DNA to the Manorville Jane Doe. In May 2020, police announced they had positively identified the Manorville Jane Doe as 24-year-old Valerie Mack.

January 25, 2003: A head was discovered by ice skaters in East Millpond in Moriches, New York, in Suffolk County with a single bullet wound. His arms and legs were later found several miles away in plastic bags. He was identified as Andre Isaac. His case was added to the Suffolk County Police Department’s Gilgo News website on May 29, 2020.

July 26, 2003: A dismembered torso of a female, missing its head and hands, was discovered in Manorville, New York. Jessica’s torso was found atop a pile of scrap wood at the end of a paved access road off Halsey Manor Road, just north of where it crosses the Long Island Express. Plastic sheeting was found underneath the torso. A tattoo on her back had been mutilated. The victim was identified 7 months later as 20-year-old Jessica Taylor after detectives released photos of the tattoo.  On May 9, 2011, a skull, a pair of hands, and a forearm found on March 29 at Gilgo Beach were matched to Jessica Taylor.

November 10, 2003: A badly decomposed body was found in Manorville 400 yards south of the Long Island Expressway, near Toppings Path. A hunter discovered the body in a wooded area about three miles east of the woods where the bodies of Jessica Taylor and Valerie Mack had been dumped. Autopsy results were inconclusive. The victim was Caucasian, 35 to 50 years old, about 5’6″, and had died up to four months earlier. The victim was identified in 2015, but the family asked authorities not to release his name.

March 3, 2007: A suitcase containing the dismembered torso of an unidentified Hispanic or light-skinned African-American female washed up on a beach at Harbor Island Park in Mamaroneck. A few weeks later, her legs washed up in different areas of Long Island. A stab wound was noted on the torso. She had a tattoo of two cherries on her right breast. Never identified, she is referred to as Cherries by investigators.

June 23, 2008: Tanya Rush, 39, was last seen around 3 a.m. walking toward a subway station in Brooklyn. Her dismembered body was discovered on June 27, 2008, in Bellmore, crammed inside a suitcase. Police stated, “It was a particularly brutal murder […] There was a lot of rage in this.”

June 27, 2008: A dismembered body was found by a state road-cleaning crew inside a black canvas suitcase in plain sight on the Newbridge Road ramp leading to the westbound Southern State Parkway in Bellmore, New York. The body was later identified as 39-year-old Tanya Rush.

December 13, 2010: Police discover three more sets of skeletal remains close to where Melissa Barthelemy was found. The bodies were found within about 500 feet of each other.

December 13, 2010: 25-year-old Maureen Brainard-Barnes was last seen in her room at the Super 8 Hotel in midtown Manhattan. She had left her home in Norwich, CT, to meet a client she had booked through Craigslist. She was reported missing on July 14, 2007. Shortly after her disappearance, a friend of Brainard-Barnes’s, Sara Karnes, received a phone call from a man on an unfamiliar number. The man claimed that he had just seen Brainard-Barnes and that she was alive and staying at a “whorehouse in Queens.” He refused to identify himself and could not tell Karnes the location of the house. He told Karnes he would call back and give her the address but never called again. Her remains were found on the north side of Ocean Parkway, near Gilgo Beach, during the search for Shannan Gilbert.

March 29, 2011: Suffolk County Police return to Gilgo Beach to continue the search for Shannan Gilbert. One mile East of the original site, police discover a skull, forearm, and hands. These would later be identified as additional remains of Jessica Taylor, whose torso was found in Manorville in 2003.

March 31, 2011: A fifth set of remains were discovered, but it was not Shannan Gilbert.

April 4, 2011: Police find three more sets of human remains along Ocean Parkway between Oak Beach and Gilgo Beach. The body of an Asian male dressed in women’s clothing was discovered. The victim may have been transgender. The cause of death was determined to be blunt-force trauma to the head. A sketch was released in September 2011.

An unidentified female toddler, referred to as Baby Doe, was found wrapped in a blanket with no apparent signs of trauma. The skeletal remains were discovered along Ocean Parkway in close proximity to Valerie Mack. It is believed that the toddler was approximately 2-years-old at the time of her death.

April 11, 2011:  Police discover two more sets of remains in separate locations along Ocean Parkway.

A plastic bag containing upper and lower extremities was found near Jones Beach State Park. DNA testing later determined that this victim, referred to as Jane Doe #3, was the mother of the child found the week prior.

A skull was discovered along Ocean Parkway west of Tobay Beach. This victim was referred to as Jane Doe #7 and was later linked to the Fire Island Jane Doe, whose legs were found in 1996 on Fire Island.

May 17, 2011: Suffolk Police reveal they are reviewing other homicide cases for possible links to the bodies found along Ocean Parkway. The only case specifically mentioned was Tanya Rush, whose body was found on June 27, 2008 in Bellmore.

November 29, 2011: Police Commissioner Richard Dormer reveals that police now believe one serial killer is responsible and that Shannan Gilbert’s case is not connected. Dormer states: “We believe that it’s just a coincidence that she went missing in Oak Beach and the bodies were found on Gilgo Beach.”

December 6, 2011: Shannan Gilbert’s pocketbook, ID, cell phone, jeans, and shoes are found during a search of an Oak Beach marsh.

December 13, 2011: Shannan Gilbert’s body is discovered in the Oak Beach marsh a quarter mile from where her belongings were found. Homicide detectives spotted her remains at 9:14 a.m. Commissioner Dormer states: “This may be just a young lady [who] ran into the brush in a hysterical state, fell down, and expired for some reason.”

December 15, 2011: District Attorney Thomas Spota disagrees with Commissioner Dormer’s theory that a single killer is responsible. Edward Webber is named interim commissioner, replacing Richard Dormer, and James Burke is announced as Suffolk County’s police chief starting in 2012.

February 17, 2012: Skeletal remains are discovered in a wooded area of Manorville, off North Street and west of Wading River Road. The body was wrapped in bed sheets, a plastic bag, and duct tape. Police determined the victim was a male and estimated the body had been there for at least five years.

January 23, 2013: The skeletal remains of a woman were discovered in a garbage bag along the shore in Lattingtown, New York

March 16, 2013: 31-year-old Natasha Jugo was last seen leaving her home in Queens Village, NY. Her car was abandoned along Ocean Parkway near Gilgo Beach, with footprints in the sand leading towards the water. Her wallet, ID, and some of her clothing were found in the sand. Natasha’s body was discovered floating in the water by beachgoers on June 24, 2013. Jugo’s body was the eleventh human body to be found at Gilgo Beach since December 2010

July 2014: John Bittrolff, a carpenter from Manorville, was charged with the murders of two women in 1993 and 1994. He was being investigated for possible connections to the remains found at Gilgo Beach. He was also a suspect in the murder of a third woman. In September 2017, he was found guilty and sentenced to two consecutive life sentences.

December 10, 2015: The FBI officially joined the investigation. The FBI had previously assisted in the search for victims but was never officially part of the investigation.

Busted Ex-Police Chief Blocked FBI Probe of Gilgo Beach Murders (New York Post, December 12, 2015)

November 2019: A 54-year-old Long Island man, Andrew Frey, was arrested for allegedly trying to kidnap two sex workers on separate occasions. He was charged with multiple counts of attempted sex trafficking and attempted kidnapping. In both cases, one in July 2019 and the other in October 2018, the women escaped by jumping out of his moving vehicle. Handcuffs, knives, guns, rope, zip-ties, and manuals on knot-tying were recovered in a search of his home and vehicle. He also had a history of violence against sex workers. Federal investigators were examining whether Frey had any connection to the Gilgo Beach murders.

January 2020: Suffolk County Police released images of a belt found at one of the Gilgo crime scenes. The letters “HM” or “WH” are embossed into the leather. Police believe the belt was handled by the killer and did not belong to any of the victims. Police Commissioner Hart stated that forensic genealogy was being used to help identify victims.

If you have information on any of these cases, you can Submit a Tip to:

FBI Anonymous Tip online:

Submit a Tip to the Suffolk County Police Department’s official case website:

May 2020: A judge overturned the appeal of the Suffolk County Police Department and ordered them to release the long-sealed 911 recording of a call made by Shannan Gilbert the night she died.

May 28, 2020: Suffolk County released the identity of the Manorville Jane Doe. It was 24-year-old Valerie Mack. Family members last saw her in the Spring/Summer of 2000 in Port Republic, New Jersey. Her last known address was in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, area where she had been working as an escort. She was never reported missing. Her remains were found in Manorville in November 2000. Her torso was found wrapped in garbage bags and dumped in the woods near the intersection of Halsey Manor Road and Mill Road, adjacent to a set of power lines. A head, right foot, and hands were found on Gilgo Beach on April 4, 2011, along Ocean Parkway during the search for Shannan Gilbert. Her right foot had been cut off high above the ankle, possibly to conceal an identifying mark or tattoo.

June 28, 2021: State Senator Phil Boyle held a press conference at Oak Beach Park to demand answers from Suffolk County officials regarding the investigation into victims found near Gilgo Beach. Boyle asked New York State Attorney General Letitia James to appoint a special prosecutor to review the initial stages of the investigation into the Gilgo Beach/Long Island Serial Killer Case.

Senator Boyle delivered a letter to then-Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone demanding that Bellone disclose to Suffolk County residents why he did not remove James Burke as his Police Chief even as it became clear that Burke was hindering progress in solving these heinous crimes by refusing assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Former Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke Sentenced to 46 Months in Prison for Assault and Obstruction of Justice (U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York)

Boyle stated, “Suffolk County residents have the right to know if their former Police Chief James Burke was ever cleared, or even questioned, about any direct or indirect connection to these crimes. And if Chief Burke was questioned, when and by whom?”

January 2022: Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison stated he will publicly release the 911 calls related to the disappearance of Shannan Gilbert as long as their disclosure doesn’t interfere with the investigation.

February 2022: Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison announced the creation of a new task force dedicated to solving the case. The task force will be comprised of homicide detectives, the FBI, the Suffolk District Attorney’s Office, and the Suffolk Sheriff’s Office.

April 2022: Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison held a news conference announcing updates on the investigation. Five videos showing the last known surveillance footage of Megan Waterman were released. The videos show Megan in a hotel lobby before walking out the front exit. Crime Stoppers has increased the reward from $25,000 to $50,000. The official case website,, has also been redesigned.

May 13, 2022: Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison held a press conference announcing the release of Shannan Gilbert’s 911 call, as well as two other calls that were placed by residents of Oak Beach. They also plan to release the independent autopsy report performed by Dr. Baden. Commissioner Harrison stated: “Based on the evidence […] the prevailing opinion in Shannan’s death, while tragic, was not a murder, and was most likely non-criminal.”

May 17, 2022: Attorney John Ray, who represents the family of Shannan Gilbert, held a press conference to dispute Suffolk County’s claims that Shannan’s death was an accident. Shannan’s sister also said the case needs to be independently reviewed. Ray released a 45-page document including a photo of Shannan’s skeletal remains.

July 14, 2023: Rex Andrew Heuermann, of Massapequa, Long Island Was Arrested

Detectives executed search warrants at Heuermann’s home and Manhattan architecture office.

July 16, 2023: Suffolk police executed a search warrant at a storage unit in Amityville as part of the investigation into Rex Heuermann

Heuermann lived in the same house in Massapequa Park he was raised in—a few miles across the bay from the beach where bodies were unearthed more than a decade ago—according to a 2018 deposition.

Authorities were able to obtain a search warrant for Long Island suspect Rex Heuermann’s Google results and watch as he tried to keep up with the investigation, Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney said.

“In a 14-month period, he had over 200 searches pertaining to the Gilgo Beach serial killings investigation,” Tierney said.

“He was looking at investigative insight. He was looking, trying to figure out, ‘How is the task force using cell phones to try to figure out what is happening? What are the developments with regard to the task force?” he continued.

Tierney emphasized the importance of keeping the investigation and grand jury proceedings secret “because we knew that this one person would be watching, and we didn’t want to give him any insight.”

The warrant also revealed Heuermann was “compulsively” searching for images of the victims and their families, “and he was trying to locate those individuals.”

Authorities decided to charge the man accused of murdering at least three of the four women when the need to keep the public safe outweighed the need for investigators to collect more evidence, Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney said.

“There was good tension among the task force formed to investigate the long-unsolved Gilgo Beach murders since its formation in 2022,” Tierney said. On the one hand, authorities wanted to build the strongest case they could against suspect Rex Heuermann. On the other, they also needed to keep the public safe, he said.

Heuermann, who authorities were closely monitoring as they were investigating him, was continuing to patronize sex workers and also using fake IDs and burner phones, Tierney said. Those factors led authorities to decide to arrest him.

Heuermann used the cell phone of at least one of the victims to taunt family members and admitted to killing and sexually assaulting her, prosecutors allege in court documents.

In one of the calls, he “admitted killing and sexually assaulting Ms. Barthelemy,” according to a bail application filed by the Suffolk County District Attorney. 

Investigators say they linked Heuermann to the locations where taunting phone calls or other activity was made on Barthelemy’s phone, as well as the phone of Maureen Brainard-Barnes—a fourth woman Heuermann is considered the “prime suspect” for killing—after their disappearances.

Rex Heuermann Denied Bail

According to the Judge, “based on the serious, heinous nature of these serial murders, the planning, and forethought that went into these crimes, the strength of the People’s case, the length of incarceration the defendant faces upon conviction, the extended period of time that this Defendant was able to avoid apprehension, his recent searches for sadistic materials, child pornography, images of the victims and their relatives, counter-surveillance conducted online as to the criminal investigation, his use of fictitious names, burner email and cellphone accounts, and his access to and history of possessing firearms, the only means to ensure Defendant Rex A. Heuermann’s return to court is to remand him without bail.”

Gilgo Beach Homicide Investigation—Suffolk County Government

If you have information on any of these cases, you can Submit a Tip to:

FBI Anonymous Tip online:

Submit a Tip to the Suffolk County Police Department’s official case website:

The Task Force conducting the Gilgo Beach Investigation consists of the:

Suffolk County Police Department  | Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office

New York State Police | Federal Bureau of Investigation 

Books Available on Amazon

The Gilgo Beach Murders: The Investigation and Capture of Sinister Serial Killer Rex Heuermann by Jared F. Trent

As the investigation unfolds, Trent guides readers through the complexities of the case, exposing the horrifying depths of depravity and the trail of devastation left behind by the elusive killer.

Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker.

Long considered “one of the best true-crime books of all time” (Time), Lost Girls is a portrait of unsolved murders in an idyllic part of America, of the underside of the Internet, and of the secrets we keep without admitting to ourselves that we keep them.

Documentaries Available on Amazon Prime Video

ID Special Report: The Long Island Serial Killer

People Magazine Investigates: The Long Island Serial Killer

Why Hasn’t the Long Island Serial Killer Case Been Solved? (Ellen Killoran, Rolling Stone, December 2016)

How NYC Architect was Linked to Three Women’s Remains Found on Gilgo Beach

The Unsolved Long Island Murder Mystery