Multiple sex workers have revealed that they held onto recordings of phone calls with the Gilgo Beach serial killer suspect after he contacted them – but they refused to meet with him.
Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon told The Independent in a statement on Monday that officials have been interviewing sex workers as they are booked into local jails about any past encounters they had with Rex Heuermann.
So far, two women have revealed that they not only were in contact with the accused killer but also had made recordings of conversations with him.
“While interviewing women through the Suffolk County Correctional Facility’s unique human trafficking unit we have already found two women who had previously had contact with Rex Heuermann when they were employed as sex workers prior to their incarceration,” the sheriff said.
“While these women both received calls from Heuermann, they declined to take dates with him.
“We will continue to interview women in our custody to determine if we can find others who have had contact with him to further the investigation.”
It is not clear what led the women to record the conversations or why they decided against meeting him.
The sheriff’s office also would not reveal what Mr Heuermann said in the recordings.
This comes as police continue to investigate the 59-year-old married father-of-two for possible connections to other unsolved murders in both Long Island and further afield.
Mr Heuermann was arrested on 13 July and charged with the murders of three women – Megan Waterman, Melissa Barthelemy and Amber Costello.
Court records show that Mr Heuermann was linked to the killings through a tip about his pickup truck, a stash of burner phones, “sadistic” online searches, phone calls taunting victims’ families, his wife’s hair found on the victims’ bodies – and a pizza crust.
He is also the prime suspect in the murder of Maureen Brainard-Barnes – who was last seen alive in early June 2007 in New York City and who, together with the three, is described as the “Gilgo Four”.
Police said that they are “confident” they will soon be able to charge Mr Heuermann with her murder as well.
All four women worked as sex workers and disappeared after going to meet a client. They were all found in December 2010 within one-quarter mile of each other, bound by belts or tape and some wrapped in burlap – their bodies dumped along Gilgo Beach.
They are among 11 victims whose remains were found along the shores of Long Island in 2010 and 2011, sparking fears of one or more serial killers.
The case began in May 2010 when Shannan Gilbert vanished after leaving a client’s house on foot near Gilgo Beach.
She called 911 for help saying she feared for her life and was never seen alive again.
During a search for Gilbert in dense thicket close to the beach, police discovered the remains of another woman.
Within a matter of days, the remains of three more victims were found close by.
By spring 2011, the remains of a total of 10 victims had been found including eight women, a man, and a toddler. Police have long thought that it could be the work of one or more serial killers.
Gilbert’s body was then found in December 2011. Her cause of death is widely contested with authorities long claiming that it is not connected to the serial killer or killers but that she died from accidental drowning as she fled from the client’s home.
However, an independent autopsy commissioned by her family ruled that she died by strangulation and her mother believes she was murdered.
Like Gilbert, most of the victims targeted were sex workers while some are yet to be identified.
Investigators continue to probe whether Mr Heuermann may be connected to some of the other 11 murders and have been extensively searching his home and other locations linked to him since his arrest earlier this month.
On Monday, search teams were spotted digging up the backyard of his home in Massapequa Park, where the architect lived with his wife and two adult children, amid reports that at least one victim may have been killed at the property.
As well as extensively searching Mr Heuermann’s home in Long Island, officials are probing other locations connected to the accused murderer including storage units two miles away in Amityville.
Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies are also looking into unsolved murders and missing persons cases all across America including in Las Vegas and South Carolina – where Mr Heuermann owns properties – and Atlantic City – where several sex workers were found murdered.