By: Andrea Cipriano, MAFP
Officials call this “one of the most intense, prolific searches for a serial killer ever.”
The communities in Long Island are breathing a sigh of relief knowing that the Suffolk County police and District Attorney’s Office announced Friday morning, July 14, 2023, that there was a “significant development in the case.”
A suspect from Massapequa, which neighbors Nassau County, has been arrested for the Gilgo Beach murders.
Heuermann was arrested Thursday night at his Manhattan office outside 373 Fifth Ave., and Suffolk and state police have been at his 1st Avenue home ever since. In a 2022 interview posted to Bonjour Realty, Heuermann said he was “born and raised on Long Island.”
According to WABC, the paperwork associated with his arrest will be unsealed after a court proceeding later on Friday.
Gilgo Beach Murders
Police realized they might have an unidentified serial killer in their community in December of 2010 when the body of Melissa Barthelemy, 24, was found along Ocean Parkway.
The remains of three other women were discovered in the following days.
The true crime community now knows these women as the “Gilgo Four” — Barthelemy along with Megan Waterman, 22, Amber Lynn Costello, 27, and Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 25. These women were all found wrapped in burlap, only about one-tenth of a mile apart from each other on the beach.
Map along Gilgo Beach showing the locations where the victims were found, photo via the Suffolk County Police Department.
By spring 2011, the number of bodies had climbed — including identified victims Shannan Gilbert, 24, Valerie Mack, 24, and Jessica Taylor, 20. Among the unidentified victims are “Baby Doe,” a female toddler aged somewhere between 1 and 4, Baby Doe’s mother “Peaches / Jane Doe No. 3,” “John Doe / Asian Male,” aged between 17-23, and “Fire Island Jane Doe / Jane Doe No. 7.”
Currently, it’s unclear if Heuermann will be connected to all of the victims or just the Gilgo Four.
A hint to the public may exist in the fact that John Ray, the family attorney for victims Shannan Gilbert and Jessica Taylor, told News 12 that he “had a very strong, credible tip that they were about to close in on an arrest” around a week ago.
Joseph L. Giacalone, a retired NYPD Sergeant and former Commanding Officer of the Bronx Cold Case Squad, tells Uncovered the smoking gun connecting Heuermann to any of the victims will be in the cell phone records and location pings connected to Melissa Barthelemy.
Not only did Barthelemy’s cell phone ping in Massapequa before her death, but Giacalone says the 2009 subsequent harassing phone calls also originated from both Massapequa and Times Square or Madison Square Garden. This is staggering, knowing Heuermann’s office is right in that Midtown area.
“Is this Melissa’s little sister?” an unknown man asked when the girl on the other end picked up the line.
“Yes,” replied Melissa’s 16-year-old sister, Amanda.
“Do you know what your sister is doing?” he said. “She’s a whore.”
Amanda told police at the time that no one knew Melissa resorted to sex work when she was struggling to make ends meet. Melissa told everyone she was just an exotic dancer — the only people who knew the truth were Amanda and the men she met.
“If anybody is looking for a connection, there it is,” Giacalone shared with Uncovered.
Regarding the “large cooler” police were seen taking out of the suspect’s home, Giacalone believes it could be filled with computers, hard drives, or other electronic media.
There will be a press conference about the Gilgo Beach Homicide Investigation Task Force’s investigation at 4 p.m., according to a joint news release. This is a developing story, and we will update this post as more information is released.
Love this post? Meet the Author.
Andrea Cipriano is the Digital Content Specialist at Uncovered, where she writes for the twice-weekly true crime newsletter, The Citizen Detective. Andrea graduated with a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where she focused on researching and peeling back the criminal mind. Andrea believes that it’s never too late for justice.
Uncovered has built a community for thoughtful true crime discussion, advocacy, and comprehensive cold case research. We are the hub for novice and experienced researchers alike, helping members further develop their citizen detective skills. Sound like something you’re interested in? Join our community. Together, we can make a difference.