July 24, 2023

USA: It Appears There Is More To The Gilgo Beach Serial Killer Story Than Meets The Eye. Long Island Murders Went Unsolved For Over A Decade Because Group Of VIPs Involved. This Guy Set Up As Fall Guy.

CBS New York published July 23, 2023: Was a critical tip in Gilgo Beach murders probe overlooked? Investigators were seen Sunday digging in the backyard of the suspect's home and collecting evidence. CBS New York's Naveen Dhaliwal has the latest from Massapequa Park.
NewsNation published July 14, 2023: Long Island murders went unsolved for over a decade. Architect Rex Heuermann was charged in the deaths of three of the 11 victims in a string of killings in Long Island from over a decade ago. In 2010 and 2011, skeletal remains were found along a remote oceanfront highway by Gilgo Beach. Most of the victims were young women who had been sex workers. Billy Jensen, the co-host of "Unraveled: Long Island Serial Killer," weighs in on "Banfield."

CBS New York
written by John Dias, and Carolyn Gusoff
Monday July 24, 2023

MASSAPEQUA PARK, N.Y. -- Investigators were seen digging in suspected Gilgo Beach serial killer Rex Heuermann's backyard Sunday, amid questions about whether critical tips were overlooked in the case more than a decade ago.

CBS New York's John Dias spoke with experts about what detectives may be searching for and what comes next in the case.

Heuermann is accused of killing three women and is the prime suspect in another murder.

Suffolk County Police say they will be at his Massapequa Park home for a few more days.

"This kind of one-to-two-week period is about on par, especially with how complex of a case it is," said Paul Bleakley, assistant professor of criminal justice at the University of New Haven.

On Sunday, drone video caught a backhoe digging a large hole in Heuermann's backyard, as detectives in white hazmat suits took pictures and gathered evidence with ground-penetrating radar and cadaver dogs at work.

"This is a very disorganized killer, and this is why police are spending a lot more time," Bleakley said. "They have reason to believe that if this person has messed up before, from a traced evidence standpoint, there may be other pieces of evidence in their home."

Legal experts say police could be looking for a murder weapon the alleged killer may have tried to bury in his yard or for evidence to prove this is where one or multiple women were killed. Experts say they could also be trying to rule out the home.

"It looks like they're putting together some key pieces of evidence that may have been overlooked," said Herbet Ellis, of Ellis Law.

This all comes as questions are mounting about whether detectives at the time of the murders more than a decade ago dropped the ball on key evidence from victim Amber Costello's roommate, who described Heuermann and his car after an interaction.

"What you have to understand is when they're getting that, that's lost within a sea of other tips and information they are getting, and at the time, there wasn't really any coherent leadership," Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney said.

A big setback in the case came in 2012 when former Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke was sentenced to four years in prison for conspiracy to obstruct justice and violating a victim's civil rights in a separate case.

Tierney inherited the investigation when he took office in 2022.

"I can't say, from a leadership perspective what happened before January 2022, but I can tell you what we did starting February 2022. And that's what we did, and six weeks later, we had a suspect," Tierney said.

Suffolk Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison says the description was not easily matched with the area of interest -- Massapequa Park, where phone calls were last made to the murdered sex workers.

"We came about that information maybe a couple of years ago, but we were unable to attach it to the Massapequa box, which I'm sure you are very familiar with, but the one thing I'm not going to do is knock anybody that was before me," Harrison said.

Meanwhile, Harrison calls the search at Heuermann's Massapequa Park home "fruitful."

"There have been items that we have taken into our possession. That makes it fruitful," Harrison said.

He added every single crevice in the home is being examined.

The top cop confirmed the existence of a walk-in basement vault with a large iron door.

"There's not a soundproof room. There is a vault where he secured numerous amount of guns," Harrison said.

Neighbors' lives are upended by the massive crime scene, but they too want to know what authorities find.

"As long as they need to stay, they need to stay. There's a lot of things that are unsolved," neighbor Gina Guerriere said.

"Everybody wants to know what's going on, really, what they will find in that house," another neighbor said.

Asked if he believes Heuermann is responsible for more murders, Harrison added it's hard to say, saying this person has been at large for a long time and the Gilgo murders task force will be kept in tact.

Heuermann pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail. He is due back in court Aug. 1.
The New York Post
written by Stephanie Pagones and Jorge Fitz-Gibbon
Thursday July 20, 2023

The disgraced ex-Suffolk County police chief who botched the Gilgo Beach murder probe had plenty of skeletons in his closet — and once did federal prison time for beating up a crook who stole his dildo and porn stash.

James Burke, 59, who admitted he roughed up suspect Christopher Loeb in 2012 for snatching his sick stash of sex goodies, also had drug-addled trysts with hookers and once fled from a drunken wreck, according to court records and various reports.

To top it off, Burke allegedly did a bare-bones investigation into the Gilgo Beach case, blocking out the FBI and other agencies working on the gruesome discovery of 11 bodies along Long Island’s South Shore in 2010, claimed attorney John Ray, who represents the families Gilgo Beach victims, Jessica Taylor and Shannan Gilbert.

“This case was bungled and polluted from the beginning,” he said.

Ray also represented the escort who claimed a fling with Burke, who was identified only as “Lee Ann.”

“He brought the message and culture to the case, I guess the culture that terminated from his own mind and heart — and it was not a good one,” the lawyer said.

“He made it his domain,” Ray said.

“And this is a guy that’s in charge of a sex-murder investigation. It’s kind of bizarre.”

Burke could not be reached by phone and did not answer the door at his Smithtown home this week.

The attorneys who represented the former chief did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The lawyer who represented Burke when the prostitute allegations surfaced in 2017 denied the claims then and said they “don’t warrant a comment,” Fox News reported at the time.

The former chief pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy and civil rights charges in 2016 and served prison time before he was released from a halfway house and back to his Smithtown home in 2018.

Burke admitted that he brutalized Loeb, an admitted drug addict, and threatened to give him a lethal “hot dose” of heroin for stealing his sordid duffle back from a department-issued SUV.

That bag contained ammunition, a box of cigars, a dildo, sex toys and a collection of pornography.

“I will never feel safe after what you and your officers did to me,” Loeb said in court at Burke’s sentencing in 2016.

“I will never again feel comfortable living in Suffolk County, the place that I used to call home.”

According to court papers from the case, federal prosecutors said Burke also kept a bar at his Long Island office that was open at all hours — and once fled from a drunken wreck in Suffolk County.

Internal affairs probes into Burke’s conduct alleged that he had a sexual affair with at least one prostitute, including hooking up in his police car, WPIX11 said in a 2016 report.

Federal prosecutors noted in his sentencing memorandum that year that the disgraced chief “was the subject of a number of internal affairs investigations,” including “a substantiated case” when he “consorted” with a known prostitute and drug user.

The fallen cop’s name has resurfaced in the wake of last week’s arrest of Rex Heuermann, a 59-year-old Massapequa Park architect with Midtown offices, who was charged with the murder of three of the Gilgo Beach victims.

Heuermann is also the prime suspect in the death of another woman — with those victims known collectively as the “Gilgo Four.”

The four bodies were discovered in December 2010 along marshy property while investigators were searching for the remains of Gilbert — whose family Ray represents.

Taylor’s remains were found in a wooded area in Manorville in 2003, with additional remains found at Gilgo Beach years later, in March 2011 — months after the Gilgo Four were found.

Gilbert, who was also an escort and was from Jersey City disappeared from the area in May 2010 and was also found at Gilgo Beach months later along with the other victims.

Their deaths remain unsolved to this day.

“Their investigation was minimum,” Ray claimed of Suffolk County cops under Burke’s watch.

“In Shannan’s case, they had no knowledge of what really happened. They didn’t interview any witnesses of any significance.”

“I mean, it was stunning what they didn’t do, he said. “And this continued over the years. All they did was stonewall.”

The change in the Gilgo Beach investigation came at the start of last year when former NYPD Chief Rodney Harrison took over as Suffolk County police commissioner and reopened the case.

By March 2022, a joint state police and county task force had identified Heuermann as the suspect in at least three of the Gilgo Four cases — Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Lynn Costello.

The hulking architect is also the main suspect in the death of Maureen Brainard-Barnes.

Police have not said if they believe there is a link between those four and the other bodies, and Ray says while it’s a possibility, “it’s also not necessarily true” that Heuermann could be a suspect in those.

“The Gilgo Four are intact and wrapped in burlap and put in a ritualistic order one after the other,” he said. “Much unlike all of the others, most of whom were dismembered.

“So the method, the modus operandi, are different,” he said.

“That would suggest more than one person.”

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