Gilgo Beach

Long Island police expected to identify another victim in Gilgo Beach killings: Source

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Police on Long Island are expected to hold a news conference on Friday to announce new details in the Gilgo Beach murders -- a senior law enforcement source says it's the identity of a seventh Jane Doe in the case.

The forthcoming announcement comes at a time when prosecutors are working to strengthen their case using DNA from suspect Rex Heuerman. They now want a DNA sample directly from the 59-year-old architect.

Investigators have requested a cheek swab from the man charged with killing Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Lynn Costello, who disappeared over a 14-month span prior to the discovery of their bodies.

Prosecutors say Heuermann is also the prime suspect in the death of a fourth woman, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, who vanished in 2007. Her remains were found in the same quarter-mile stretch of Ocean Parkway as the other women, across a bay from the town where Heuermann grew up and lived for decades in his childhood home.

According to a motion filed by the district attorney's office, the sample would "provide further relevant evidence of the defendant's identity as the perpetrator of the crime."

DNA played a key role in Heuermann's arrest. Prosecutors have said hair found at the crime scene matches DNA from a pizza box the suspect threw into a trash can in Manhattan.

He pleaded not guilty at his first court appearance and was ordered jailed without the possibility of bail. His lawyer said Heuermann denied committing the crimes.

“The press has convicted my client without seeing a shred of evidence,” Michael Brown told reporters after the hearing, suggesting that prosecutors "very well could have the wrong guy.”

Heuermann is due back in court on Sept. 27.

Commissioner Rodney Harrison speaks exclusively to Myles Miller about the department's special task force to catch the suspected killer in the Gilgo Beach murders.

All of the women Heuermann is accused of killing were sex workers whose remains were discovered near each other. Investigators say they cracked the case with the help of sophisticated cell phone location data analysis, DNA evidence and an old tip about a vehicle seen parked outside the home of one of the victims.

Investigators spent nearly two weeks combing through Heuermann’s home in Massapequa Park, across a bay from where the remains were found, yielding yet more evidence that will eventually be turned over to his lawyer.

The search included digging up the yard, dismantling a porch and a greenhouse and removing many contents of the house for testing.

Robert Macedonio, an attorney for Heuermann’s wife, Asa Ellerup, said the home was essentially “destroyed” along the way, with investigators cutting through the bathtub, ripping up floors, and leaving cat litter strewn around the house.

Ellerup filed for divorce after her husband was arrested. She and her two adult children, who also live at the house, returned last week after bouncing between relatives’ homes and a rental car, where they were forced to spend multiple nights, according to the lawyer.

“These people are also innocent victims in this,” Macedonio added. “They’re the unknown victims because no one cares about them.”

An attorney for the adult children, Vess Mitev, said his clients were considering legal action against police for the “deplorable and roughshod handling of the investigation.”

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