A GIGLO Beach murder victim, also known as Jane Doe No. 7, whose remains were found along a remote stretch on Long Island 27 years ago, was identified as Karen Vergata on Friday.
A plastic bag containing the victim’s legs was first uncovered at Davis Park on Fire Island’s Blue Point Beach on April 20, 1996.
Suffolk County District Attorney, Raymond Tierney, revealed on Friday that a skull found at Tobay Beach on Ocean Parkway near Gilgo Beach in 2011 was that of Vergata, 34.
Tierney said Vergata went missing on February 14, 1996, but a missing persons report was never filed.
At the time, the 34-year-old lived on West 45th Street in Manhattan and was an escort, Tierney said.
The FBI was able to positively identify Vergata after taking a swab from a relative.
Heuermann, 59, who has not been charged in connection with Vergata’s death, was arrested on July 13 and charged with three counts of first-degree murder for the killings of Melissa Barthelemy in 2009, and Megan Waterman and Amber Costello in 2010.
The prominent New York City architect from Massapequa is considered the prime suspect in the 2007 disappearance and death of Maureen Brainard-Barnes.
Known collectively as the Gilgo Four, all of the women were sex workers in their 20s whose remains were found wrapped in burlap and dumped within a quarter-mile of each other near Gilgo Beach, on Long Island, in late 2010.
The 59-year-old has not been charged with the other victims that were found along the south shore of Long Island between 1996 and 2011.
GILGO BEACH VICTIMS
The harrowing discovery was made in December 2010 while authorities were searching for missing 23-year-old escort Shannan Gilbert, who vanished in March of that year.
Her disappearance led to a search that uncovered ten other bodies along the remote beach highway.
The bodies of Barthelemy, Waterman, and Costello were all uncovered at the time.
In March 2011, remains belonging to Jessica Taylor, a 20-year-old woman who worked as an escort in New York City, were found in a wooded area in Manorville.
Days later, investigators found the remains of Valerie Mack, a 24-year-old who worked as an escort under the alias Melissa Taylor.
On April 4, 2011, the remains of a yet-to-be-identified Asian man between the age of 17 and 23 were found along Ocean Parkway.
Investigators also uncovered the remains of a toddler, who was about two years old at the time of her death, linking the victim as the daughter of an African American woman who was found in 1997.
The woman is known only as “Peaches” because of a bitten tattoo of a peach on her left breast.
On July 13, Heuermann was arrested outside his midtown Manhattan office after being swarmed by nearly a dozen nonuniformed detectives.
The Massapequa father of two first landed on the radar of investigators last year, just weeks after the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office launched a new task force to investigate the women’s deaths.
He was partly linked to the murders by DNA recovered from a discarded pizza crust that was positively matched to DNA left on the body of Waterman.
Prosecutors said hair belonging to Heuermann’s wife, Asa Ellerup, was found with the remains of three women. One of his hairs was also found on one victim.
Various calls made from a burner phone – including to one victim’s sister – were traced back to his office, home, and a Tinder profile of his operated under a fake name.
Heuermann also made a series of disturbing and incriminating internet searches in the months preceding his arrest, including searches for child pornography, images of the Gilgo victims, and updates about the investigation, police say.
The towering six-foot-four architect appeared in court on Tuesday, looking disheveled as he stood in front of a judge in handcuffs.
During the proceedings, prosecutors claimed to have gathered a vast trove of evidence against him, including DNA and eight terabytes of digital material.
Heuermann’s attorney, Michael Brown, continued to protest his client’s innocence as he sparred with reporters outside of court.
“The press has convicted my client without seeing a shred of evidence,” Brown said.
“Have you ever considered they may have the wrong guy?
“What we’re going to do is defend this case in a courtroom. … Where we have 12 fair and impartial jurors, where we have a fair and impartial judge.
“Where words like ‘presumption of innocence’ and ‘beyond a reasonable doubt,’ where words like that reign every day. That’s where we are going to try this case.”
Heuermann didn’t speak during the hearing.
He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and is due back in court on September 27.
EXTENSIVE 12-DAY SEARCH
Ellerup, 59, has since filed for divorce from her accused serial killer husband, and said she and her family are suffering intense anxiety as they work to clean up their home after it was ransacked by investigators.
Investigators spent 12 days tearing through the Massapequa Park home.
Described as a very cluttered home, investigators uncovered 279 firearms and a basement walk-in gun vault with boxes.
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/23355205/gilgo-beach-murders-victim-identified-rex-heuermann/ Gilgo Beach victim named as Karen Vergata, 34, after 27 years following Rex Heuermann’s Long Island serial killer arrest