Criminologists who offered a psychological profile of the Gilgo Beach serial killer in 2011 came eerily close to describing suspect Rex Heuermann, who was arrested Thursday.
Serial killer experts told the New York Times in 2011 that the perpetrator who killed at least four women and dumped their bodies alongside Ocean Parkway in Long Island between 2007 and 2010 was likely to be an educated white male living on the South Shore of Long Island. Profilers said the suspect would have a job and be financially secure, drive an expensive car or truck, was likely to be married and would appear unassuming to most people.
“This is someone who can walk into a room and seem like your average Joe,” said Scott Bonn, an assistant professor of sociology at Drew University in Madison, NJ, and serial-killer researcher.
“He has to be persuasive enough and rational enough that he is able to convince these women to meet him on these terms. He has demonstrated social skills. He may even be charming,” he added, describing the man who murdered Maureen Brainard-Barnes, Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman, and Amber Costello.
Those descriptors are nearly an exact match for Heuermann, a Massapequa Park architect and married father of two who is now charged in connection to the Gilgo Beach murders.
Experts suggested the unknown subject would be in his mid-20s to mid-40s.
Heuermann, 59, would have been about 46 when the last victim, Costello, was killed in September 2010.
The placement of the victims’ bodies was another major clue for profilers.
Eleven sets of human remains were discovered along a 10-mile stretch of a suburban Long Island beach highway. The area was remote enough to suggest that the perpetrator was familiar with the area, former FBI profiler Jim Clemente told the Times.
“He did not stumble upon that location,” Clemente said. Since each of the victims disappeared in the summer, Clemente suggested there may be a “seasonal nature” to the killer’s connection to the area. “It may be the time his wife or kids or parents are away for the summer,” he suggested. “There are many possibilities.”
Investigators said Friday that the murders took place at times when Heuermann’s wife, Asa Ellerup, and children were out of town. His wife was in Maryland when Waterman vanished, according to Heuermann’s bail application.
She was in New Jersey when Costello disappeared and Iceland when Barthelemy was last seen alive, the document said.
Heuermann pleaded not guilty to six charges during a Friday afternoon court appearance in Yaphank, New York, after being arrested Thursday evening in Manhattan. He faces charges of three counts of murder in the first degree and three counts of murder in the second degree for the deaths of Barthelemy, Waterman and Costello, according to court documents.
Investigators searched his home in Massapequa Park in Long Island, Friday, about a 25-minute drive from where New York authorities discovered the 11 sets of human remains strewn along Ocean Parkway in 2010 and 2011. Heuermann’s Manhattan office was also searched.
Neighbors described Heuermann as a “creep” and expressed shock at his arrest.
Officials detailed in a bail application that Heuermann made “thousands” of Google searches for various explicit pornography and also searched for nearby sex workers. Among the Google searches that Heuermann allegedly made are “mistress long island” and “mature escorts Manhattan.” Many allegedly involved child pornography.
Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney told Fox News on Friday that suspect Rex Heuermann’s arrest came after five “hairs of significance” from four victims were able to be further studied thanks to mitochondrial DNA technology.
The suspect purportedly used burner phones, and New York authorities were able to use a perimeter of cell phone ping locations that matched calls made to some of the victims, according to the UK Guardian.
A bail application revealed that Heuermann was arrested with the additional help of DNA from a discarded pizza box.
Police towed a black Chevrolet Avalanche truck from Heuermann’s property on Friday.
Fox News’ Greg Norman, Michael Ruiz, Marta Dhanis and Charles Creitz contributed to this report.