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Rex Heuermann’s wife ‘didn’t talk to anyone’ in Long Island community, neighbour says

‘I guess people don’t expect a serial killer to be married,’ a neighbour of the Heuermanns told The New York Times

Andrea Blanco
Wednesday 19 July 2023 21:19 BST
Moment Gilgo Beach suspect arrested in crowded New York street

Neighbours of alleged Gilgo Beach serial killer Rex Heuermann have described him and his wife as “reclusive and enigmatic” in the wake of his arrest over the murders of three sex workers more than a decade ago.

Mr Heuermann was charged on 14 July with the murders of Amber Costello, Megan Waterman and Melissa Barthelemy, who went missing between 2007 and 2010 and whose bodies were found along the stretch of a roadway in Gilgo Beach. He is also the prime suspect in the killing of a fourth woman, Maureen Brainard-Barnes.

The 59-year-old architect’s arrest came as a shock for residents of Massapequa Park, where Mr Heuermann lived with his wife, daughter and stepson. Mr Heeurmann’s defence attorney has described his client as a “loving husband and devoted father.”

But neighbours of Mr Heeurmann told The New York Times they never got to see that side of his personality. Instead, Frankie Musto told the publication, Mr Heuermann and his 59-year-old Asa Ellerup avoided interactions with neighbours and kept to themselves.

“I guess people don’t expect a serial killer to be married,” Ms Musto said. “I’m friendly with everybody around here but she didn’t talk to anyone.”

Ms Musto said his daughter grew up with Heuermann’s daughter but she never allowed her to go to the family’s “unkempt house.”

“I didn’t want her in that house,” Ms Musto said, adding that she couldn’t recall any neighbours ever visiting the Heeurmanns.

The manager of an IGA supermarket where Ms Ellerup shopped with her children also told the Times that she often looked sombre and never visited the store with her husband.

“Could he have been a monster who killed those girls and an angel at home?” Mery Salmeri said. “Or maybe his family was just so scared of him that they were like his prisoners who would never tell anyone, even if they had some idea of what he was capable of.”

Forensic analysis revealed that female hairs found in the three crime scene locations belonged to Mr Heuermann’s wife. However, authorities have determined through cellphone records that Ms Ellerup was out of state when the murders took place.

Rex Heuermann was charged on 14 July with the murders of Amber Costello, Megan Waterman and Melissa Barthelemy, who went missing between 2007 and 2010 (AP)

At the time Barthelemy went missing in July 2009, she was in Iceland. Ms Ellerup visited Maryland around the time Waterman disappeared in June 2010, and also travelled to New Jersey when Costello was last seen in September of that year.

“It is likely that the burlap, tape, vehicle(s) or other instrumentalities utilized in furtherance of these murders came from Defendant Heuermann’s residence, where his wife also resides, or was transferred from his clothing,” prosecutors explained.

Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison told CNN on Tuesday that Ms Ellerup and her children reacted with shock to Mr Heuermann’s arrest and are now cooperating with the investigation.

“They were disgusted. They were embarrassed,” Mr Harrison said. “So, if you ask me, I don’t believe they knew about this double life that Heuermann was living.”

Mr Heuermann has pleaded not guilty to all the murder charges against him.

Authorities search the home of suspect Rex Heuermann, Tuesday, July 18, 2023, in Massapequa Park (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Over the weekend, a trove of 200 to 300 firearms were seized from the suspect’s home – a home he has lived in his whole life and which is located just a 20-minute drive from Gilgo Beach where the killer dumped the bodies of his victims. He had legal permits for 92 guns, police previously said.

Police are investigating whether Mr Heuermann is behind the murders of seven other victims whose bodies were found along the shores of Gilgo Beach.

An NYPD official told ABC News the 59-year-old is being looked at in connection to missing person cases and murders across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Investigators further afield are also exploring potential links between the serial killer suspect and other unsolved murders out of state, after it emerged that Mr Heuermann has ties to South Carolina and Las Vegas.

The married father-of-two’s DNA has been entered into a statewide database and his alleged MO is being compared to other cases – including those during the period he was allegedly active in Gilgo Beach.

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