Rex Heuermann’s sister-in-law says family going ‘through a uniquely difficult time’ after his arrest

‘My ego has great difficulty processing the idea that I looked Rex in the eye and was unable to discern any murderous intentions,’ Dr Johanna Ellerup told NBC News

Andrea Blanco
Friday 21 July 2023 20:11 EDT

Gilgo Beach: The story so far

Rex Huermann’s sister-in-law has opened up about the difficult situation his wife is facing following the father-of-two’s arrest in connection with the Gilgo Beach murders.

Thirteen years after a trail of bodies were discovered in the shoreline community of Gilgo Beach, the Suffolk County Police Department made a long-awaited arrest in the case last week. Rex Heuermann, 59, was taken into custody and charged with the murders of Amber Costello, Melissa Barthelemy and Megan Waterman.

The architect and father-of-two has pleaded not guilty, with his attorneys telling the media that he broke down in tears as he insisted on his innocence after his arraignment hearing. However, Mr Heuermann’s wife Asa Ellerup, who is said to be devastated in the wake of her husband’s arrest, has already filed for divorce.

Speaking with NBC News, Ms Ellerup’s half-sister Dr Johanna Ellerup said the family “is going through a uniquely difficult time.”

“I vacillate between desperately wanting my niece and nephew’s life returned to its previous state, intact, without a father accused of being a serial killer to being pleased and secure in knowing that someone is in custody,” Dr Ellerup told the outlet.

“My ego has great difficulty processing the idea that I looked Rex in the eye and was unable to discern any murderous intentions.”

Ms Ellerup filed for divorce on Wednesday, just five days after Mr Heuermann was taken into custody while he walked in a busy street in Midtown Manhattan street near his architecture business.

In a statement to The Independent, Ms Ellerup’s attorney said she and her adult children have asked for privacy as they reel from the news that Mr Heuermann is accused of brutally killing at least three women before dumping their bodies just five miles away from the Massapequa Park home where the family lived.

“As you can imagine, our client and her family are going through a devastating time in their lives,” attorney Robert Macedonia said. “The sensitive nature of her husband’s arrest is taking an emotional toll on the immediate and extended family, especially their elderly family members.”

Authorities search the home of suspect Rex Heuermann, Tuesday, July 18, 2023, in Massapequa Park

Mr Heuermann first came onto investigators’ radar last year, when a witness identified his vehicle, while DNA evidence and a forensic analysis of his cellphone records and online searches have further tied him to the crime, police said.

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 sexual abuse images and disturbing content.

Former NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce told ABC’s Good Morning America that law enforcement agencies across the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and even nationwide are also reviewing cold cases that Mr Heuermann may be tied to.

Las Vegas and South Carolina police are also reviewing unsolved cases in the areas where Mr Heuermann owns properties.

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