Gilgo Beach Murders: Which Killings Are Rex Heuermann Accused Of?

Rex Heuermann
Accused Gilgo Beach serial killer Rex A. Heuermann appears in Judge Tim Mazzei’s courtroom at Suffolk County Court in Riverhead on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. His lawyer, Michael J. Brown, is at left.
James Carbone/Newsday via Pool

Suspected Gilgo Beach serial killer Rex Heuermann remains charged with the murders of Megan Waterman, Amber Lynn Costello, and Melissa Barthelemy, while remaining a top suspect in the death of Maureen Brainard-Barnes.

The victims known as “The Gilgo Four,” are the only deaths officially linked to Heuermann at this point in time.

But questions have been raised — either by news media or investigating authorities — about whether he is tied to other murders.

Although cleared in some cases, Heuermann has not been ruled out in others.

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Clockwise from left: A sketch of “Asian Male Doe,” the tattoo for which Peaches is named, and jewelry worn by Peaches’ daughter.

The Other Long Island Serial Killer Victims

Police found the Gilgo Four when searching for Shannan Gilbert, a New Jersey woman who went missing on Oak Beach shortly after a frantic 911 call in which she asserted “There’s somebody after me.”

Gilbert was eventually found dead in a nearby marsh, and her cause of death remains disputed.

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From left: Jessica Taylor and Valerie Mack.

In 2011, police found the partial remains of Jessica Taylor and Valerie Mack on Gilgo Beach; they had also been partially found in Manorville — Mack in 2000, and Taylor in 2003.

That same year, the partial remains of an unidentified victim known as “Peaches” were found on Jones Beach — she had previously been partially found at Hempstead Lake State Park in 1997.

Karen Vergata, formerly known as “Fire Island Jane Doe,” was partially found on Tobay Beach as well, having previously been found on Fire Island in 1996.

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Karen Vergata was publicly identified in August.

“Baby Doe,” later identified as Peaches’ daughter, was found 250 feet from Mack near Cedar Beach. Another unidentified victim, “Asian Male Doe,” was found closer to the Gilgo Four.

Due to the difference in modus operandi between Taylor, Mack, Vergata, Peaches and the Gilgo Four — the former group had been dismembered, the Gilgo Four were not — police initially speculated that this was the work of two or more killers, but Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney recently said investigators are looking at whether Heuermann may be involved in the other unsolved Gilgo cases.

New Investigations After Rex Heuermann’s Arrest

Another unidentified murder victim known for a tattoo — “Cherries” — was discovered after her partial remains washed ashore in Mamaroneck, Cove Neck, and Cold Spring Harbor in 2007.

PIX11 reported in August that the Mamaroneck Police Department had reached out to the Gilgo Beach Homicide Task Force about Cherries.

Maybe there’s some trophy that links our victim to him,” Village of Mamaroneck Police Department Detective Lt.  P.J. Trujillo told PIX11. “We know he would go duck hunting, maybe leave at 5 a.m.”

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The tattoo of “Cherries Doe.”

Carmen Vargas was found dead near the Meadowbrook State Parkway in Freeport in 1989, allegedly bound similarly to the Gilgo Four.

Vargas, who had been working as a sex worker, was initially thought to be a victim of Joel Rifkin, who admitted to killing up to 17 women from 1989 to 1994, but denied involvement in Vargas’ death.

Vargas’ niece posted on a Reddit page dedicated to the Long Island Serial Killer saying the family believed Vargas was one of the Long Island Serial Killer’s victims. 

In September, Nassau County police told the New York Post that Heuermann was being investigated in connection with Vargas.

The murder of Andre Jamal Isaac, a drag queen known as “Sugar Bear” whose partial remains were found in Queens in 2002 and Moriches in 2003, is also reportedly being investigated by the Gilgo Beach Task Force, possibly in connection with Heuermann. 

The Eastbound Strangler

In 2006, four women — Barbara Breidor, Molly Jean Dilts, Kim Raffo, and Tracy Ann Roberts — were found dead due to strangulation in a drainage ditch near Atlantic City.

All four were facing east, giving their killer the moniker of “The Eastbound Strangler.”

Due to the similarities between them and the Gilgo Four, many wondered for years if their killer was the same person. When Heuermann was arrested in July, this possible connection sparked renewed interest.

However, after several weeks of investigating, Atlantic County Prosecutor William Reynolds ruled out Heuermann as a suspect, which means that the Eastbound Strangler remains at large.

Where Rex Heuermann Had Property

The green Chevrolet Avalanche that was seen by Dave Schaller, the last person to see Amber Lynn Costello alive, and ultimately led to Heuermann’s arrest, was seized in Chester County, South Carolina — where Heuermann owns property. 

In September, various news outlets surmised that Rex Heuermann could be connected to the disappearance Julia Ann Bean, a South Carolina woman from Sumter County who went missing in 2017.

The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that it would be investigating a possible connection, although no updates have been given in this case.

Bean’s daughter, Cameron Bean, claimed to have seen her mother get into a “dark truck,” and also claimed to have recognized Heuermann when his arrest was made public.

According to public records, Heuermann also owns a timeshare at Club De Soleil in Las Vegas.

Since his arrest, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, investigators have looked at Heuermann in connection to the death of Jodi Brewer, whose torso was found in the Mojave Desert in 2007.

News 12 also reported in August that Las Vegas police would use Heuermann’s DNA in a “direct comparison” with murder victim Victoria Camara, who was found dead near Boulder City, Nevada.

This came mere days after Heuermann was ordered by the court to submit a DNA cheek swab.