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Gilgo Beach murders - update: Police identify victim Karen Vergata but won’t comment on Rex Heuermann link

Updates on the Gilgo Beach serial killer case after Long Island police give press conference revealing identity of Fire Island Jane Doe following Rex Heuermann’s arrest

Rachel Sharp
Saturday 05 August 2023 15:49 EDT

Search of alleged Gilgo Beach serial killer’s home ends

The Gilgo Beach murders victim previously known only as Jane Doe 7 has finally been identified more than 26 years after her partial remains were first discovered along the Long Island shores.

In a press conference on Friday, Long Island officials announced that they had identified the victim as Karen Vergata, a 34-year-old who was last seen alive in Manhattan in 1996 while working as an escort.

Police refused to take any questions and would not comment on whether or not they believe her disappearance and murder may be linked to serial killer suspect Rex Heuermann.

This comes as prosecutors have asked the court to obtain a swab of DNA from Mr Heuermann and as his wife broke her silence in her first interview since his shock arrest to reveal she is filled with “anxiety” and their two children “cry themselves to sleep” every night over the horror case.

Mr Heuermann, 59, was arrested on 13 July and charged with the murders of Amber Castello, Megan Waterman and Melissa Barthelemy. He is also the main suspect in Maureen Brainard-Barnes’ killing.

The women all went missing in 2009 and 2010 before their remains were found along Gilgo Beach.


Gilgo Beach serial killer suspect’s wife breaks silence in first interview

The wife of Gilgo Beach serial killer suspect Rex Heuermann broke her silence in her first interview this week where she revealed that she has been left filled with “anxiety” and their two children “cry themselves to sleep” over the horror.

“I woke up in the middle of the night, shivering... anxiety,” Asa Ellerup told The New York Post.

“My children cry themselves to sleep. I mean, they’re not children. They’re grown adults but they’re my children, and my son has developmental disabilities and he cried himself to sleep.”

Their daughter Victoria has been left feeling “not human”, with Ms Ellerup’s lawyer Bob Macedonio explaining that the family had been treated “like animals”.

Ms Ellerup spoke out as she said that the family’s home in Massapequa Park had been left in tatters by investigators who spent almost two weeks combing through the property for evidence connected to the murders or for trophies the accused killer took from his victims.

Images show the bathtub with holes cut out and possessions strewn everywhere.

Mr Macedonio told the Post that he is making an itemised list of the damage to send to the DA’s office.

Rachel Sharp2 August 2023 22:15

Rex Heuermann’s defence buried in mountain of evidence as he faces court in Gilgo Beach murders case

Attorneys for accused Gilgo Beach serial killer Rex Heuermann have received a massive amount of evidence to review from the prosecution.

Mr Heuermann, the Manhattan architect accused of murdering at least three women and dumping their bodies along a remote stretch of shore in the Long Island community of Gilgo Beach, appeared in court on Tuesday for the first time since his arraignment.

Mr Heuermann is charged with killing Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Lynn Costello, who disappeared in 2009 and 2010. Prosecutors say he’s also the main suspect in the death of a fourth woman, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, who vanished in 2007.

Read the full story:

Gilgo Beach murders suspect Rex Heuermann’s defence buried in mountain of evidence

Mr Heuermann appeared in court on Tuesday for the first time since his arraignment

Rachel Sharp2 August 2023 23:15

When will Rex Heuermann next appear in court?

Rex Heuermann appeared in court in Suffolk County on Tuesday for a brief preliminary hearing.

His next court date was set for 27 September when he will appear for a pre-trial conference hearing.

Rachel Sharp3 August 2023 00:00

WATCH: Rex Heuermann makes court appearance

Rex Heuermann makes court appearance
Rachel Sharp3 August 2023 00:15

PREMIUM: Horror on the shore: the murder spree that has gripped America

Back in 2010, very few people knew the name Gilgo Beach.

The small beach in Long Island didn’t have the same draw for New York day-trippers or staycationers as the shores along other oceanfront towns like Montauk or East Hampton.

And for anyone outside of New York state, they’d likely never even heard of it.

That all changed one night in May when a terrified woman called 911 begging for help to save her from someone she believed was trying to kill her.

A search of the area for the missing woman followed – and what it uncovered was something that placed Gilgo Beach on the map forever.

The Independent’s Rachel Sharp reports:

The murder cold case that has gripped America

The Gilgo Beach serial killer case has shocked and captivated America for the past 13 years, writes Rachel Sharp. The suspect was hiding in plain sight all along

Rachel Sharp3 August 2023 01:15

VOICES: Gilgo Beach and the ‘normal’ man turned serial killer

“While news of the arrest of Long Island resident Rex Heuermann on multiple counts of murder may have sent ripples of shock through his community, the revelation that a “normal” man was capable of such heinous acts of violence was hardly surprising for sex workers and their advocates. Violence – including infrequent but horrendous instances of serial predators and killers – is too often a reality for those engaged in sexual labour.

“Media coverage has typically focused on dissecting the police investigation, and now the killer’s biography. Of course, the media has long been interested in stories of serial killers preying on sex workers, and there has been no shortage of such cases. From the sensationalist reporting of Jack the Ripper in Victorian-era London to the Yorkshire Ripper case in 1970s England, from Robert Pickton’s terrorising of Indigenous women in Vancouver (1990s) to Seattle’s “Green River Killer” (1980s-90s), serial predators have long targeted people in the sex trades. The Dallas police have just arrested a man on suspicion of the murders of three sex workers.”

Dr Jayne Swift writes:

Gilgo Beach and the ‘normal’ man turned serial killer

We can prevent serial murders of sex workers

Rachel Sharp3 August 2023 02:15

Rex Heuermann’s wife pleads to be left alone

In a statement released through her lawyers Macedonio & Duncan, Rex Heuermann’s wife has pleaded to be left alone.

“On behalf of my family and especially my elderly neighbors, who have also had their lives turned upside down by the enormous police presence, in addition to the spectators, and news crews,” Ms Ellerup’s statement read.

“They deserve to live peacefully; they should be able to walk their dogs and go to the grocery stores without cameras shoved in their faces.

“I am pleading with you all to give us space so that we may regain some normalcy in our neighborhood.”

Rachel Sharp3 August 2023 03:15

Who is Rex Heuermann?

His Manhattan business describes him as a registered architect with over 30 years’ experience.

His neighbours describe him as a “family man” living with his wife and two children in a tight-knit community in Suffolk County.

But now authorities are describing him as the suspected Gilgo Beach serial killer who unleashed terror along the shores of Long Island more than a decade ago.

So who is Rex Heuermann?

Rachel Sharp3 August 2023 05:15

Pizza crust, burner phones and his wife’s hair: How Long Island police tied Rex Heuermann to the Gilgo Beach murders

It’s taken 13 years but Suffolk County Police finally say they’ve caught the serial killer who dumped his victims along the shores of Gilgo Beach – thanks to a pimp’s tip about his pickup truck, a stash of burner phones, his wife’s hair and a pizza crust.

Rachel Sharp reports:

How pizza crust, burner phones and wife’s hairs led police to Gilgo Beach suspect

It’s taken 13 years but Suffolk County Police finally say they’ve caught the serial killer who dumped his victims along the shores of Gilgo Beach – thanks to a pimp’s tip about his pickup truck, a stash of burner phones, his wife’s hair and a pizza crust. Rachel Sharp reports

Rachel Sharp3 August 2023 06:15

Gilgo Beach serial killer suspect ruled out of Atlantic City murders

A New Jersey prosecutor said Tuesday that the murders of several sex workers on Long Island do not appear to be related to the unsolved killings of four sex workers near Atlantic City in 2006.

Atlantic County Prosecutor William Reynolds said detectives from his office met recently with detectives from Suffolk County, New York and compared information on the two sets of homicides.

Officers from both agencies compared “timelines, dates, methodologies, etc. of both cases,” the prosecutor said.

“There does not seem to be a connection between the suspect in the Gilgo Beach case and the Atlantic County homicides from 2006,” he said.

Representatives of the Suffolk County Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Ever since the bodies were found on Long Island, speculation quickly arose as to whether the killings might have been carried out by the same person or persons that killed four women whose bodies were found in a drainage ditch behind a string of seedy motels just outside Atlantic City in 2006.

The two sets of homicides involved sex workers whose bodies were dumped in remote, overgrown areas not far from the ocean.

No one has been charged in the New Jersey cases, which happened in Egg Harbor Township, near Atlantic City.

Reynolds said those cases remain open and active.

“Authorities will continue to follow all leads until the perpetrator of those crimes is brought to justice,” he said.

A joint investigation is being carried out by Atlantic City and Egg Harbor Township police, as well as state and federal law enforcement officers.

AP contributed to this report

Rachel Sharp3 August 2023 07:15

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