Suspect in Long Island’s Gilgo Beach serial killings is charged with the death of a fourth woman

Alleged Gilgo serial Killer Rex Heuermann appears inside Judge Timothy P. Mazzei's courtroom with his attorney Michael Brown Tuesday at Suffolk County Court in Riverhead, N.Y. (James Carbone/Newsday via AP)

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. — A New York architect charged in a string of slayings known as the Gilgo Beach killings was accused Tuesday in the death of a fourth woman, a Connecticut mother of two who vanished in 2007 and whose remains were found more than three years later along a coastal highway on Long Island.

Rex Heuermann was formally charged in the killing of Maureen Brainard-Barnes, months after having been labeled the prime suspect in her death when he was arrested in July in the deaths of three other women.


Wearing a dark suit, he remained silent in court as his lawyer entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. He will continue to be held without bail until his next court date on Feb. 6.

Police say the breakthrough came from DNA extracted from hair at the scene. A hair found with Brainard-Barnes’ remains is genetically similar to a DNA sample taken from Heuermann’s ex-wife. During the period when Brainard-Barnes disappeared in 2007, Heuermann’s ex-wife and his daughter were staying out of town at a hotel in Atlantic City, the indictment and her attorney confirmed.

Prosecutors also said in Tuesday’s court filing that Heuermann feared getting caught in the months leading up to his arrest.

He obtained data wiping software in an attempt to destroy evidence on his laptops, phones and other electronic devices, they said. Investigators seized hundreds of devices during their lengthy search of Heuermann’s home that prosecutors say contained troves of bondage and torture pornography.

Heuermann also scoured the internet for phrases that suggested he was afraid of getting caught, including “How does cell site analysis work,” “Gilgo news,” “How cell phone tracking is increasingly being used to solve crimes,” and phrases with the term “Long Island Serial Killer.”

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