The brother of slain child beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey has said he believes her killer could have a similar profile to the man accused of perpetrating a string of murders that terrorised Long Island more than a decade ago.
Rex Heuermann, 59, was arrested last week in connection with the brutal murders of Megan Waterman, Melissa Barthelemy and Amber Costello, whose bodies were found within one-quarter mile of each other in the shoreline community of Gilgo Beach. The grim discovery was made amid a separate missing persons investigation in December 2010 but the case went cold for years before Mr Heuermann’s bombshell arrest.
Some neighbours have said that Mr Heuermann seemingly led a normal life in Massapequa Park — where he lived with his wife and near the site where the three victims were last seen — while others claimed they warned their children never to approach his house. The father-of-two also had a booming architecture consulting firm located in Midtown Manhattan.
Reacting to the breakthrough developments in the Gilgo Beach murders investigation, John Andrew Ramsey said that he believes his sister JonBenét’s killer has also likely led an outwardly low-profile life but wouldn’t be able to entirely blend into society without raising suspicion.
“No criminal record but you can’t hide this level of darkness,” Mr Ramsey tweeted in reference to Mr Heuermann’s arrest on Saturday. “It will manifest itself in other areas of your life. Try as you might you can’t blend. JonBenet’s killer will likely have a similar bio.”
JonBenét ’s 1996 killing made national headlines and remains unsolved to this day.
The six-year-old was found strangled in the basement of her home in Boulder, Colorado. Her parents had called police around 6am that day after finding a ransom note asking for $118,000, but the body was not discovered until seven hours later when officers asked her father to check if anything was missing.
Boulder police then accused JonBenét’s parents, John Ramsey and Patsy Ramsey, of staging the crime scene, although the district attorney’s office at the time was convinced that evidence pointed somewhere else. Law enforcement faced backlash for several missteps in the investigation into the murder.
Investigators announced a reinvigorated probe in JonBenét’s case last fall. The break in the Gilgo Beach murders case came as part of a similar revamped investigation in 2022.
Mr Ramsey said he hopes his sister’s cold case will experience a breakthrough of its own.
“LE has come a long way since 1996. Turf wars are becoming a thing of the past with partnerships becoming standard operating procedure. This new approach just might net JonBenet’s killer.
Determining who killed the Gilgo Beach victims, and why, has vexed a slew of homicide detectives through the last decade. Last year, an interagency task force was formed with investigators from the FBI, as well as state and local police departments, aimed at solving the case.
Shannan Gilbert’s disappearance in 2010 triggered the hunt that exposed the larger mystery. A 24-year-old sex worker, she vanished after leaving a client’s house on foot in the seafront community of Oak Beach, disappearing into the marsh.
Months later, a police officer and his cadaver dog were looking for her body in the thicket along nearby Ocean Parkway when they happened upon the remains of a different woman. Within days, three other bodies were found, all within a short walk of one another.
By spring 2011, that number had climbed to 10 sets of human remains, those of eight women, one man and one toddler. Some were later linked to dismembered body parts found elsewhere on Long Island, making for a puzzling crime scene that stretched from a park near the New York City limits to a resort community on Fire Island and out to far eastern Long Island.
A bail application released by the Suffolk County District Attorney revealed that Mr Heuermann was linked to the serial killings through cellphone evidence and surveillance.
Mr Heuermann was first linked to the cold case in March 2022 after investigators discovered that a Chevrolet Avalanche registered to him was possibly the one spotted by a witness in Costello’s disappearance.
As law enforcement closed in on him, they served more than 300 subpoenas and search warrants that uncovered cellphone records for burner phones used to arrange meetings with three of the “Gilgo Four” victims before they went missing.
Further analysis also allegedly linked Mr Heuermann to taunting calls made to family members of the victims, according to investigators. The calls were made from the Midtown Manhattan area, where the offices of Mr Heuerman’s architecture business are located.
Among the evidence linking Mr Heuermann to the murders was a hair found on burlap material used to wrap Waterman’s corpse, according to court documents. DNA analysis had not been possible in the early stages of the investigation, but new technology allowed testing in July 2020.
Records also show that several online accounts under fictitious names linked to Mr Heuermann were used for illegal activities. Mr Heuermann allegedly used those accounts and burner phones to contact women for prostitution services, as well as making chilling online searches.
The searches reportedly included sadistic, torture-related pornography, child pornography and disturbing content. Mr Heuermann is also accused of searching “why could law enforcement not trace the calls made by the long island serial killer,” “why hasn’t the long island serial killer been caught” and “new phone technology may be key to break in case.”
Mr Heuermann is also the prime suspect in the murder of a fourth woman Maureen Brainard-Barnes, who was last seen alive in New York City in early June 2007. Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney said on Monday that officials are “confident” that Mr Heuermann will soon be charged with the murder of Brainard-Barnes.
On Sunday night, Suffolk Police Officers executed a search warrant at a single unit at Omega Self Storage in Amityville late, according to News 12 Long Island. Police confirmed to the local outlet that the search was part of the investigation into the Manhattan architect’s alleged murders.
The storage unit is just two miles from Mr Heuermann’s home in Massapequa Park, where investigators have been combing for evidence — and possible trophies — linking him to the slayings.