A suspect in custody in the Gilgo Beach murders, a case that has captured national attention and confounded investigators on Long Island for more than a decade, was identified Friday as Rex Heuermann, the sources said.
He was expected to be arraigned Friday after his arrest Thursday night, Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney K. Harrison said.
«We anticipate an indictment later this afternoon,» said Harrison, whose agency and the Suffolk County district attorney are leading the investigation.
Heuermann is a New York City-based architect living in Massapequa, which is in neighboring Nassau County.
The sister of Shannan Gilbert, the first of 11 victims found dead, said she was «relieved he was finally caught.»
«It has been a long time coming and I have never given up hope that justice will one day be served,» Sherre Gilbert said in an email to NBC News. «I’m glad it happened sooner rather than later. The suspect (Rex) deserves to rot in prison for the rest of his life. He destroyed many lives, so while he won’t bring our loved ones back, he helps that.» «. One less monster is off the streets and can never hurt anyone else!»
Heuermann’s arrest came after a spokesman for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office said Friday morning there was «significant development in the case» but declined to comment further until after a proceeding. court later this morning.
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The news was first reported by News 12 Long Island.
“The focus for me, members of our team, has been to get justice for these victims and to get the deal done with these families that have suffered,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said at a news conference. “Today’s developments take us a big step forward. doing exactly that.»
Friends of the suspect expressed dismay at his arrest. They said he owns an architecture firm in Manhattan and belonged to a New York City-based networking group known as The Dream Team.
«I knew him as a friend and a colleague,» Emma Tang, 37, told NBC News in a telephone interview. «And I’m completely shocked…I didn’t see it coming.»
Eleven sets of human remains have been found on a stretch of road in Suffolk County after police began searching Ocean Parkway for Gilbert, a 24-year-old sex worker from New Jersey who disappeared in 2010 after leaving home. from a client in Oak Beach.
During the search, the remains of Melissa Barthelemy, 24, were found on December 11, 2010. Two days later, three more bodies were discovered: Megan Waterman, 22, Amber Lynn Costello, 27, and Maureen Brainard. -Barnes, 25.
In March 2011, the Suffolk Police found the partial remains of Jessica Taylor along Ocean Parkway. Eight years earlier, remains belonging to Taylor were also found in Manorville, police said in 2020.
In April 2011, police discovered another three sets of remains. They were of Valerie Mack, 24, a little girl and a man.
The startling discoveries continued when two additional bodies were found in Nassau County.
Mack was not identified until 2020.
Gilbert’s remains were finally discovered by police in Oak Beach in December 2011. According to NBC New YorkGilbert was not the only victim who was a sex worker.
In May 2022, Suffolk County Police released 911 audio related to Gilbert’s disappearance. He initially called 911 from inside the home of a client, Joseph Brewer, in Oak Beach just before 5 a.m. in 2010.
“There is someone behind me,” he told the dispatcher multiple times. «Someone behind me, please,» he said.
Gilbert did not specify where he was, but said he was on Long Island. At times during the call, she was heard talking to her driver and security, Michael Pak, saying «Please get me out of here, Mike.»
At times during the 911 call, Brewer and Pak were heard talking, trying to get her out of Brewer’s home.
«Come on. We’ll all go outside,» Brewer was heard saying.
Gilbert added: «Please get me out of here, Mike.»
Development comes after a multi-agency workgroup made up of the FBI, New York State Police, and Suffolk County authorities was established in February 2022 to «reinvigorate» the investigation.