AN attorney for families of two murdered women linked to the Long Island Serial Killer received taunting and threatening phone calls from a man and woman for months that ended a week before suspect Rex Heuermann’s arrest.
John Ray, who is representing the families of Shannan Gilbert and Jessica Taylor, told The U.S. Sun on Friday that he expects more arrests to be made after Heuermann was taken into custody yesterday evening.
Heuermann, a 59-year-old architect, was charged with three counts of first and second-degree murder in connection to the deaths of Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman, and Amber Costello.
All of the women were sex workers in their 20s whose remains were found within one-quarter mile of one another near Gilgo Beach, on Long Island, in late 2010. The death of a fourth victim, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, is also believed to be connected to the case.
Heuermann pleaded not guilty to the charges and is being held without bond.
He is also being investigated in connection with the murders of six other women whose remains were found months later in the same area, including Gilbert and Taylor.
Ray said the news of Heuermann’s arrest has been bittersweet for him and the victims’ families, though they hope it marks a step towards finally achieving justice for the women.
The attorney added that he expects more arrests to follow in the wake of Heuermann’s.
Ray told The U.S. Sun he received a tip last week that investigators were closing in on an arrest, adding that two names – one of whom was Heuermann – were mentioned.
Declining to identify the second name, Ray said he’s long suspected a woman may have been involved in the Long Island killing spree.
Part of his belief, he says, stems from the discovery of a currently unidentified woman, referred to as Jane Doe #3, and her 10-month-old daughter, whose remains were found seven miles apart near Jones Beach during the Gilgo probe.
The child, he says, was found wrapped in a blanket of some kind.
Ray explained: “It’s that kind of thing that, if you’re such a depraved murderer, you don’t take time to do. That to me seems like an act of a mother.
“We also believe that some of the victims could’ve been lured by a woman,” he continued.
Further evidencing his belief, Ray said, was a series of disturbing and threatening phone calls he started receiving in January from a so-far unidentified man and woman.
The calls, which ceased just last week, were made to Ray’s home address, to various family members, and to his law office frequently over the last six months, he claims.
Each of the calls was connected in some way, he continued, and often followed the same pattern.
“The same language is used, the same tape recordings are used, it’s the same eerie voices and crazy sounds that are used in every one of those calls,” said Ray.
“They play news reports from the Shannon Gilbert case from sometime around 2011 or 2012 and make noises in the background at the same time.
“Then they say some nasty things or weird things to let us know that, whoever it was, they wanted to make sure we connected the call to the Gilgo situation.”
Ray said the callers made threats against him on numerous occasions and appeared to be watching him.
“One time they called us, and I had just got home at nine o’clock and we were eating a later dinner, and the phone rang and they said, ‘I hope you’re enjoying dinner.’
“Then this person, a few seconds later, said, ‘I hope you enjoy your pizza.’
“Within seconds, our doorbell rang, and – we live up in a dark area up on a hill – there was the guy delivering three pizzas. And we didn’t order the pizzas.
“So we call the Pizza Hut that where they were coming from. We called the police we call the pizza and the Pizza Hut person who took the order said it was a woman with a man in the background pretending to choose toppings that had made the call.”
Ray said there is no doubt in his mind the culprits responsible for the call are in some way linked to the Gilgo Beach murders.
He said he expects more arrests to be made in connection with the spree of murders but “nobody knows for sure” how many.
“I don’t even think the police know,” he said. “Right now we have seven victims besides the four, and there are likely more than haven’t been found yet.
“So while the news of the arrest came as a great sigh of relief for me and these families […] we’re also concerned to make sure that the other potential murderer or murderers are still going to be actively sought after.”
One time they called us, and I had just got home at nine o’clock and we were eating a later dinner, and the phone rang and they said, ‘I hope you’re enjoying dinner.’
Heuermann, the founder of RH Consultants & Associates, was arrested outside of his Manhattan office at around 8.30pm on Thursday evening.
The married father has reportedly been on the radar of law enforcement since last year after investigators tracked phone calls made from burner phones to the cell phones of some of the victims.
The location of the phone calls was matched to Heuermann’s home and office addresses.
Police swarmed Heuermann’s address in Massapequa Park late on Thursday night.
An eyewitness told The U.S. Sun that officers had been at the home “all night.”
A police drone was spotted flying over the house on Friday morning and numerous items were seen being removed from the property, including a pick-up truck and a “large cooler.”
‘BULLIED AT HIGH SCHOOL’
Former classmates of Heuermann’s at Berne High School in Massapequa, NY, meanwhile, reacted in a voice of collective shock over the news of his arrest.
Maureen Holpit, who was in the same graduating class as Heuermann in 1981, told The U.S. Sun that she never thought the quiet, mild-mannered, and awkward teen she remembered from all those years ago would ever be capable of allegedly committing such horrific acts.
“I was just like, ‘No way!’ I was so shocked. I couldn’t believe it,” said Holpit of the moment she learned of Heuermann’s arrest on Friday morning.
“It gives me such an eerie, creepy feeling because he always just seemed very quiet, unassuming, and just a little bit nerdy.
“People picked on him quite a lot, but I was always nice to him because that’s who I am, I didn’t like to see people being bullied.
“So I was nice and kind to him, and he would say hi, smile at me in the hallways and leave love notes in my locker – but the feeling wasn’t mutual.”
Holpit said Heuermann was mostly picked on by boys who would hurl insults at him as he walked through the school’s hallways.
She would offer Heuermann reassurance, but she claims he mistook her kindness for romantic interest.
“He’d leave me these notes that were just high school kind of things,” Holpit recounted.
“They would say, ‘I like you. Do you like me?’ and there would be a box to tick yes or no, that kind of thing.
“But I would talk to him and tell him I only saw him as a friend, and he responded fine to that.
“Nothing stands out to me now that would signal he was capable of doing something like this.
“But anything I had to do with him ended after high school. I haven’t had anything to do with him since.
“I don’t remember him being cruel to animals or anything like that, that would signal he was capable of being a serial killer.”
Actor Billy Baldwin also attended high school with Heuermann and Holpit.
Billy, the younger brother of Alec Baldwin, tweeted: “Woke up this morning to learn that the Gilgo Beach serial killer suspect was my high school classmate Rex Heuermann.
“Average guy… quiet, family man,” he said, before adding: “Mind-boggling… Massapequa is in shock.”
‘KILLER’ PLEADS NOT GUILTY
Heuermann appeared in court on Friday, appearing smug and speaking only to confirm his name.
During the arraignment, prosecutors argued against releasing him on bail due to apparent recent internet searches for “sadistic materials, child pornography, images of the victims and their relatives.”
A bail application released by the Suffolk County District Attorney revealed Heuermann was linked to the serial killings through cellphone evidence and surveillance. He also left his wife’s hair on three of the victims, prosecutors revealed.
The evidence against him was laid out in a 32-page document, which detailed how a new task force set up by the Suffolk County DA’s office last year identified him as a potential suspect within months of launching the renewed probe.
A Chevrolet Avalanche truck he owned between 2009 and 2010 was his first link to the case.
The vehicle was seen at the home of at least one victim before she vanished.
He also matched the description of an “ogre” like man who visited Amber Costello on the day she vanished.
In that incident, Heuermann is said to have arranged to meet Costello at her home to have sex. However, Costello had a male friend interrupt their encounter pretending to be an angry boyfriend.
The man who had paid to have sex with Costello was forced to leave with his money on the table. She disappeared the following night.
Prosecutors said hair belonging to Heuermann’s wife was found with the remains of three women. One of his hairs was also found on one of the victim’s bodies.
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.
Additionally, prosecutors said he made a series of strange and incriminating internet searches.
Among the searches listed in the document are: “why could law enforcement not trace the calls made by the long island serial killer” and “why hasn’t the long island serial killer been caught”.
He also made a series of disturbing searches for child pornography and explicit videos depicting rape.
Heuermann was ordered to be held without bond. Judge Richard Ambro cited the “extreme depravity” of the crimes as justification for keeping him in custody.
John Ray, an attorney representing the families of two victims, told The U.S. Sun the news of Heuermann’s arrest comes as a bittersweet moment for them all.
“There was a sigh of relief that finally something has been done, however, we’re also concerned to make sure that any other potential murderers are going to be actively sought after,” said Ray.
“[The families] were tearful, emotionally charged and destroyed at the same time.
“I think a bittersweet reaction is probably the best way to describe how they’re feeling right now.”
THE GILGO MURDERS
Cops have been hunting for the suspected killer since 2010 after the body of Melissa Barthelemy, 24, was found near Gilgo Beach, about a half-hour drive from the home.
On December 11, 2010, a Suffolk County Police Officer and sniffer dog discovered her skeletal remains in the brush just off Ocean Parkway, the main road on Jones Beach Island.
She was a sex worker who had disappeared from the Bronx the previous year.
The remains of three other women were found nearby in the following days.
Megan Waterman, 22, Amber Lynn Costello, 27, and Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 25, were all discovered within the same stretch of Gilgo Beach in 2011, wrapped in burlap.
By spring 2011, the number of suspected victims of the Long Island Serial Killer had climbed to 10 after the remains of a further four women, an unidentified man, and a toddler were found.
Cops also found the remains of 24-year-old New Jersey sex worker Shannan Gilbert, who disappeared after leaving a client’s house close to Gilgo Beach in 2010.
She rang 911 for help after saying she feared for her life and was never seen alive again.
The panicked young woman was heard banging on doors and screaming: “They’re trying to kill me,” in a chilling 911 call that was never released publicly.
In the call made at 4.51am on May 1, as she left the house on foot, Gilbert repeatedly told dispatchers: “There’s somebody after me.”
She asked the dispatcher: “Can you trace where I am?” but they were unable to, and she was never seen alive again.
Gilbert’s late mother and the family attorney, John Ray, maintained that she was being targeted by the serial killer when she died.
But former chief of detectives at the time of the disappearances, Dominick Varrone, said that the circumstances surrounding her death don’t match those of the other victims.
Last year, cops stepped up their investigation into the case, with the FBI coming in along with state and local police forces to try and solve the murders.
Speaking following the arrest, Gilbert’s sister Sherre Gilbert told NBC News she was “relieved” an arrest had been made.
She said: “I am overwhelmed but relieved that they finally caught him. It’s been a long time coming and I never gave up hope that one day justice would be served.
“The suspect deserves to rot in prison for the rest of his life.
“He destroyed many lives so while it won’t bring our loved ones back, it does help that one less monster is off the streets and he can’t ever hurt anyone else.”