A suspect, Rex Heuermann, has been arrested in the Long Island serial killings case at the center of the Netflix film Lost Girls, which was based on a book by Robert Kolker. The disappearance of 24-year-old sex worker Shannan Gilbert triggered the investigation. The Netflix movie Lost Girls follows Shannan’s mother, Mari (played by Amy Ryan), as she tries to find her missing daughter.
In 2010, investigators found sets of remains from four missing women who became known as the “Gilgo Four” and included Maureen Brainard-Barnes, Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman, and Amber Lynn Costello. All four victims’ remains were discovered within a quarter of a mile of each other along Long Island’s Ocean Parkway. Additional bodies were found in 2011, including that of an Asian male and a female toddler.
According to NBC News, more remains were later discovered in Nassau County, where Heuermann lives. In total, police suspect the perpetrator is responsible for the deaths of more than ten people.
The case has been referred to by several names over the years, most commonly the Long Island serial killer (LISK) or the Gilgo Beach serial killings, but the suspect has also been referred to as the Craigslist killer.
Suspect in Long Island serial killings arrested in July 2023
On July 14, 2023, The New York Times reported that New York architect Rex Heuermann, 59, was arrested and charged by a grand jury with six counts of murder connected to three of the Gilgo Four homicides. He is also considered the prime suspect in the death of the fourth victim. Heuermann pleaded not guilty to the charges.
CNN reports that investigators started closing in on Heuermann about six weeks after restarting the Long Island serial killings investigation in February 2022.
"[Rex Heuermann] was charged with one count of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder in each of the three killings – Melissa Barthelemy in 2009, and Megan Waterman and Amber Costello in 2010 – according to the indictment.Heuermann is also the prime suspect in the disappearance and death of a fourth woman, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, [Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney] said in a bail application. Heuermann has not been charged with that murder but the investigation “is expected to be resolved soon,” according to a bail application from prosecutors."
The suspect owns the New York City-based architecture firm RH Consultants & Associates. He is reportedly a father of two. CNN also reports that Heuermann has a history of tax issues and civil lawsuits.
It was reported that investigators found disturbing content in Heuermann’s search history, alleging that he was keeping tabs on the victims’ family members and closely tracking the investigation into the Long Island serial killings.
Additionally, “hair believed to be from Rex Heuermann’s wife was found on or near three of the Gilgo Beach murder victims, prosecutors alleged, citing DNA testing.”
Rex Heuermann’s court date
Heuermann’s next court date has been scheduled for August 1, 2023.
Lost Girls is currently available to watch on Netflix, and there are numerous other documentaries on the Long Island serial killings online for those interested in learning more about the case.