'Watershed' Break in L.I. Case Came in Vehicle Database

Investigators found match for vehicle linked to suspect Rex Heuermann from old witness statement
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 15, 2023 10:06 AM CDT
Long Island Suspect's Internet Searches Were a Little Fishy
This booking image provided by Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office shows Rex Heuermann.   (Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office via AP0)

If Long Island architect Rex Heuermann is indeed the Gilgo Beach serial killer, it appears that he was done in by a sharp-eyed witness and Heuermann's own choice of vehicle. District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney says the "watershed" discovery in the case came in March 2022, when investigators re-examining the years-old murders found a vehicle in a state database that matched the description of one spotted by a witness the day before one of the killings, reports the Washington Post. They traced the black Chevrolet Avalanche pickup truck to Heuermann and began taking a closer look. That led to subpoenas and records for burner phones registered to Heuermann that were used to schedule meetings with some of the victims, who were sex workers.

The Daily Beast has a detailed look at how the investigation unfolded, including the various aliases used by Heuermann and the discovery of internet searches conducted by him that included phrases such as "Why could law enforcement not trace the calls made by the long island serial killer," "why hasn't the long island serial killer been caught," and "Long Island killer." He also sought out podcasts on the case, "repeatedly" viewed online photos of the victims and their family members, and viewed images and pornography described as sadistic by investigators.

While the 59-year-old was a licensed architect and a married father of two, stories emerging from neighbors begin to paint a portrait of a disturbed, or at least exceedingly unpleasant, man. "We would cross the street," Massapequa Park neighbor Nicholas Ferchaw tells the New York Times. "He was somebody you don't want to approach." Heuermann's house was relatively run-down for his neighborhood, and another neighbor, Mike Schmidt tells the Times of hanging out with a friend who lived behind the suspect's home. They'd look over and say "he probably has bodies there," Schmidt recalls. Heuermann has so far been charged with three murders and is seen as the prime suspect in a fourth. (More Gilgo Beach killer stories.)

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