The moment plainclothes NYPD officers apprehended serial killer suspect Rex Heuerman on a crowded street in midtown Manhattan was caught on camera.
Heuerman, 59, was taken into custody and later charged with the murders of Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Costello a decade ago.
He is also considered the prime suspect in the death of another woman, Maureen Brainard-Barnes.
The arrest took place near his architectural office, where investigators say he made phone calls in which he arranged to meet victims for sex, and in which he called and taunted the families of the dead women.
Meanwhile, neighbors in the middle-class community where Heuerman lived all his life in Massapequa Park, near where the victim’s remains were found, described him as a fearsome figure whose home was avoided by the child Halloween, who was once kicked out. Oranges are a whole food for stealing and those who owe thousands in back taxes.
‘We used to cross the road. He was someone you didn’t want to go near,’ neighbor Nicholas Ferchau, 24, told the New York Times.
On Thursday night, Long Island serial killer suspect Rex Heuerman casually walks the streets of midtown Manhattan.
Quickly, plainclothes police officers who have been tracking his movements confront him
Eventually, the 59-year-old architect was surrounded by officers and taken into custody
The most recent video of Heuerman’s arrest shows him walking down a busy street at dusk with a bag slung over his back. He is unaware that he is being followed by police officers.
Finally, a group of officers in suits surround Heuerman. The arrest happened around 8:30 pm. A little more than 12 hours later, he was arraigned in a Long Island courtroom on three counts of first-degree murder.
A longtime colleague of Heuerman’s told The Times that he spoke with the suspect Thursday evening, noting that he was joking. ‘He must have been fine before he left the office and they arrested him,’ Steve Kramberg told the Times.
Suspicious neighbors had long been wary of the mysterious architect. One, Mike Schmidt, said he often shared a beer with another neighbor and would point to Heuerman’s house and comment: ‘That’s probably where his body is,’ according to the Times.
Schmidt said that last Halloween, he finally decided to break years of tradition by taking his children trick-or-treating at the Humane home, where he lives with his wife, daughter and stepson. The house where the suspect lived as a child.
He said the hulking architect opened the doors to the children and gave each of them a plastic pumpkin. Schmidt added that when he told his wife where the candy came from, she made him throw it away.
Earlier, neighbors in interviews with Newstimesuk.com described the suspect’s home as ‘spooky’ and ‘like a dungeon’.
In his professional life some painted Heuermann as an arrogant character. Paul Teitelbaum, who worked with Heuermann on a project involving a building in Brooklyn Heights, commented that he had a ‘swag’ about him.
According to Teitelbaum, ‘I’m the expert, you’re lucky to have me’ was Heuermann’s attitude.
Heuerman is charged with three murders attributed to the Gilgo Beach serial killer and is the prime suspect in the murder of a fourth victim.
In 2022, Heuerman was involved in a bizarre incident in which he was accused of stealing clementines for babies from a bowl at a Whole Foods supermarket.
‘He took three and put them in his pocket, then took more. I said: “Sir, these are for kids,” store worker Tara Alonzo told The Times. Alonzo said Heuerman was so angry, a manager had to escort him out.
Alonzo said the next time he heard about Heuerman was when he saw his face on TV after his arrest. ‘My colleague said: “That’s the orange guy.”‘
Over the past decade or so, Heuerman has been involved in a series of lawsuits in which he has taken people to court for allegedly hitting them with their cars and causing him ‘serious and permanent injuries,’ reports CNN.
The network reports that the cases have been ‘settled or closed’, with the latest one still open.
During a deposition related to one of those suits, Heuerman said the only sport he participated in was ‘competition rifles.’
CNN also revealed that Heuermann has had problems with the IRS, at one point owing more than $425,000 in back taxes dating back to 2005. As of October 2022, he has paid $215,078.
He and his wife owe more than $81,000 to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.
He is also considered the prime suspect in the death of a fourth woman, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, whose body was found wrapped and hidden in thick underbrush along a remote beach highway.
Also among the victims were Shannon Gilbert (left) and an unidentified Asian man, who police believe is a transgender sex worker. Heuerman is suspected, but not charged, in either death
Heuerman was first identified as a suspect in March 2022, when detectives linked him to a pickup truck that a witness reported seeing when one of the victims disappeared in 2010.
In March, detectives recovered Heuerman’s DNA from a pizza crust and it matched evidence found on one of the victims, authorities said.
Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison said, ‘They have never stopped working and will continue to work tirelessly until we bring justice to all the families involved.
Heuerman was ordered jailed without bail after his lawyer entered a not guilty plea on his behalf Friday in state court in Riverhead. In denying bail, Judge Richard Ambro noted the ‘gross depravity’ of Heuermann’s alleged behaviour.
Heuerman’s lawyer, Michael Brown, said his client told him: ‘I didn’t do it.’
Investigators continued to search Human’s home, about a 25-minute drive from South Oyster Bay across a causeway along a sandy stretch known as Gilgo Beach where remains were found in 2010 and 2011.
Most of the victims were young women who were sex workers. Their deaths stymied investigators for a long time, and the mystery sparked widespread public attention and led to a 2020 Netflix, Lost Girls.
A pizza box taken from a trash can outside Heuermann’s midtown office
‘We will continue to work, investigate and try to find a small measure of closure for the families of all the victims,’ Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney said Friday.
That evening investigators were still at Human’s home, searching his yard for evidence and clues.
A bunch of tarpaulin-sheeted and white-suited workers littered his dingy property that had clearly fallen into disrepair.
Among the items seized was a family-sized fridge, and officers said they are still looking for 92 firearms registered to Humane, but currently unaccounted for.
At least one expert speculated that Heuerman may have been behind many more murders.
Katherine Ramsland, an expert in forensic psychology, said the accused killer’s path to death may extend beyond the charges against him.
He told News Nation that people ‘don’t know’ if he ever stopped killing, adding that ‘all we know is that he’s a suspect now.’
Asked why he wasn’t linked to other remains already found in the area, Ramsland said it was possible another serial killer was hiding.
‘The other (murders) don’t seem to have been handled the same way,’ he said. ‘Serial killers don’t do the same thing all the time.
‘There is a huge difference between some of the victims who were treated and then released. So, I’m not sure he’s connected to them. I couldn’t rule it out, but it doesn’t look like the same sort of thing we’re seeing with the four victims we’re talking about.’
Investigators noted a series of ‘red flags’ in Human’s behavior that ultimately led them to their Long Island home, about 25 minutes from Gilgo Beach.
These include brazen Google searches asking why police were unable to trace calls made by the serial killer, who was known to taunt his victims’ families.
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