Long Island Serial Killer Suspect Charged With Two More Murders

The man accused of being the Long Island Serial Killer was charged with two more counts of murder in connection to the remains of victims found near his alleged dumping ground of Gilgo Beach along Long Island’s southern coast.

According to a new Suffolk County bail application obtained by Rolling Stone, Long Island, Rex Heuermann — who already faces four murder cases in connection to “the Gilgo Four” victims — was charged in the cold-case murders of Jessica Taylor and Sandra Costilla, two more women whose remains were found near Manorville, Long Island, and Gilgo Beach and whose deaths predate the previous LISK victims by nearly decades.

At least 10 bodies were discovered buried on the coast of Long Island’s Gilgo Beach in Dec. 2010. Police initially believed the corpses of four women found in close proximity to each other, each wrapped in similar burlap, were killed by the same person. Maureen Brainard-Barnes, Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman, and Amber Costello, all of whom were sex workers at the time of their deaths, were dubbed “The Gilgo Four” and remained cold case victims of the Long Island Serial Killer until Heuermann’s arrest in July 2023. 

Heuermann — who was first charged with the murders of Barthelemy, Waterman, and Costello in July 2023 and Brainard-Barnes in January 2024 — has pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Like the previous four victims attributed to LISK, Taylor was a sex worker at the time of her disappearance in 2003. Her partial remains were first discovered near Manorville in 2003, with the rest of Taylor’s remains found in 2011 as part of a search that uncovered the 10 bodies in the vicinity of Gilgo Beach. 

“Investigators believe the mutilation of the victim’s tattoo, decapitation of her head, and dismemberment of Ms. Taylor’s arms, were acts perpetrated by Rex A. Heuermann to inhibit the identification of the victim via facial recognition, fingerprints and/or tattoo identification,” the bail application Thursday stated. “During the initial investigation in Manorville in 2003, the victim’s head, arms, and hands were not found at the scene and their location remained unknown to law enforcement for approximately eight years.”

As with the previous cases, it was DNA evidence that ultimately tied Heuermann to his victims: Male hair recovered from the bodies of Costilla and Taylor excluded “99.96% of North American population but not Rex Heuermann,” the bail application notes. In the case of Costilla, additional mitochondrial DNA found on her remains was connected to an unnamed woman (called “Witness 3”) who Heuermann was living with at the time of Costilla’s 1993 disappearance.

Heuermann, potentially, could face even more murder charges: Following the discovery of Taylor’s remains, investigators long believed that she and Valerie Mack — another sex worker who disappeared in 2003 and whose remains were found as part of the LISK search in 2011 — were the victims of the same killer, as their remains were disposed of in a similar manner in the same area near Manorville. While Heuermann was not charged with the murder of Mack Thursday, the bail application mentions Mack several times and notes the similarities between her 2000 murder and Taylor’s in 2003.

The Costilla murder had been a cold case since 1993, when her remains were found in Southhampton far east of the Gilgo Beach dumping ground.

Incidentally, Manorville was the home of another convicted serial killer, John Bittrolff, a one-time LISK suspect who was also eyed in the death of Taylor and Mack due to the remains’ proximity to Manorville and the fact he was also convicted of killing two sex workers. Costilla was also long believed to a victim of Bittrolff’s until Heuermann was charged with her murder Thursday.

“On or about August 1, 2014, Forensic Laboratory # 2 received an extract of John Bittrolff’s buccal swab. Forensic Laboratory 2 was then able to develop a mitochondrial DNA profile from John Bittrolff’s buccal swab and subsequently compared it to the mitochondrial DNA profiles that had been previously generated for each of the Hairs on Costilla. At the conclusion of its analysis, Forensic Laboratory # 2 was
able to exclude John Bittrolff, and his maternal relatives, as contributors of the Hairs on Costilla,” the bail application notes.


Following Heuermann’s arrest, however, the DNA recovered from Costilla’s body was tested against his. “Based on the foregoing, while 99.96% of the North American population can be excluded as the contributor of the Male Hair on Costilla, Defendant Heuermann cannot be excluded as the contributor of the Male Hair on Costilla,” the bail application said.

This story is developing...

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