(NEW YORK) — Among the new evidence against alleged Gilgo Beach serial killer Rex Heuermann is “cutting edge” DNA evidence, the district attorney told ABC News.
Heuermann was charged Tuesday with the murder of a fourth woman, 25-year-old escort Maureen Brainard-Barnes, who disappeared in 2007.
Heuermann had already been charged in July with murdering three other escorts: Megan Waterman, Amber Costello and Melissa Barthelemy.
The remains of all four women were found in desolate spots along the ocean near Gilgo Beach in December 2010, prosecutors said. Heuermann pleaded not guilty to all four murders.
The indictment in Brainard-Barnes’ death took longer because prosecutors were waiting for evidence, including “cutting edge” DNA evidence, Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney told “Good Morning America” on Wednesday.
Investigators found DNA belonging to Heuermann’s now estranged wife, Asa Ellerup, in hair recovered from a belt used to restrain Brainard-Barnes, according to the indictment. Heuermann’s family was out of state when Brainard-Barnes was killed, prosecutors said, and Ellerup is not suspected to be involved.
“The DNA itself was extracted from the hair back in 2010,” Tierney said. “At that time, there was no method to obtain nuclear DNA profile from hair — that has since changed. So we’re on the cutting edge with regard to using this DNA analysis.”
This DNA evidence was among a slew of new evidence released Tuesday. The filing said prosecutors seized two phones from Heuermann during his arrest that were “in fictitious names,” and prosecutors said Heuermann used the phones in “hundreds of contacts with sex-workers between 2020 and 2023.”
Heuermann allegedly used the devices for searches, including the victims and their family members; the status of the investigation; and software that would help erase data from computers and other devices, prosecutors said.
“Defendant’s devices also contained the following: A collection of violent, bondage, and torture pornography preceding, during, and subsequent to the disappearances and murders of the aforementioned victims between 2007 and 2010; and prostitution-related searches preceding, during, and subsequent to the disappearances and murders of the aforementioned victims between 2007 and 2010,” the filing said.
The “Gilgo 4 investigation” is now over, authorities announced Tuesday.
Tierney said the case has “been very tough” for the four victims’ families.
The Gilgo Beach murders has “been this, sort of, pop culture thing, and I think sometimes they feel as though the lives of their loved ones get sort of lost in the mix,” Tierney said.
Brainard-Barnes’ daughter, Nicolette, who was 7 years old when her mother was killed, told reporters Tuesday, “While the loss of my mom has been extremely painful for me, the indictment by the grand jury has brought hope for justice for my mom and my family.”
The deaths of six other victims found near Gilgo Beach between 1996 and 2011 remain unsolved. The grand jury is continuing for the open cases, Tierney said.
Heuermann is next due in court on Feb. 6.
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