As investigators continue to build their case against the accused Gilgo Beach serial killer Rex Heuermann, two Long Island sex workers have described the suspect as “violent” and “aggressive” during encounters they had with him.
The two women, who have not been identified, told members of an anti-human trafficking unit with the sheriff’s office in Long Island’s Suffolk county that they became concerned for their safety during encounters with the 6ft4in, 240lbs Manhattan architect.
Both women had one meeting with Heuermann, and were unnerved, according to Suffolk sheriff Errol Toulon Jr during an interview with Newsday.
“A person of that size being a little aggressive was probably frightening,” he said.
In the six weeks since the suspect was arrested for the deaths of three women, Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Lynn Costello, and named as prime suspect in a fourth, he has remained “very emotionless”, Toulon said.
“You wonder what is going on … Is there something going on inside that is brewing?” Toulon said. Heuermann has pleaded not guilty to the killings.
The interviews with incarcerated sex workers on Long Island are expected to expand to women held on Rikers Island in New York City as investigators seek more information about Heuermann’s activities in the 13 years since the Gilgo Beach murders took place.
Sheriff’s department spokesperson Vicki DiStefano told Newsday that five women have given information considered helpful to authorities.
The incremental advances in the Gilgo Beach case come as the 59-year-old architect submitted a DNA cheek swab last week. The move came after Heuermann’s attorneys lost a court battle over the issue. Heuermann’s trial date has not been scheduled.
Six of the 11 bodies discovered in the vicinity of Gilgo Beach have been identified. The identities have been discovered through DNA analysis techniques used by forensic anthropologists with New York’s chief medical examiner, which were reportedly developed to identify victims in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Anthropological analysis has identified the remains of two dismembered victims, Valerie Mack and Jessica Taylor. Earlier this month, Karen Vergata, 34, also known as “Fire Island Jane Doe”, was identified. Another victim, known as Peaches, and her child, along with an Asian man, remain unidentified.
Still, significant questions remain unanswered, including why there was a profound lack of progress in the Gilgo Beach investigations for more than decade until a new police commissioner, Rodney Harrison, established a multi-agency task force 18 months ago. Heuermann was identified as a suspect two months later.
The shadow of blame has been cast over the former Suffolk county police chief, James Burke, who was then under FBI investigation and served time in federal prison for beating up a heroin addict who stole a dildo and porn stash from his police cruiser in 2015.
Law enforcement officials have conceded that Burke’s refusal to allow FBI and other agencies to assist in the Gilgo Beach case hurt their investigation.
Last week, the disgraced police chief was busted for allegedly “soliciting sexual engagement” from a park ranger at 10.15am in the Suffolk County Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park in Farmingville.
Burke, 58, allegedly exposed himself, began masturbating in front of a plainclothes ranger and said he liked “sucking dick” just before he was arrested, according to an arrest report obtained by the New York Post.
“The ranger who made the arrest of Mr Burke did not know he was [James Burke] … not at first, not until he identified himself and said who he was and said, ‘Do you know who I am?’” said Suffolk county park rangers chief Stephen Laton at a press conference.
Burke has been charged with offering a sex act, indecent exposure, public lewdness and fifth-degree criminal solicitation. He is due back in court on 11 September.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/aug/26/gilgo-beach-serial-killer-suspect-sex-workers-violent-aggressive Two sex workers call Gilgo Beach serial killer suspect ‘violent’ and ‘aggressive’ | Gilgo Beach serial killings