Long Island Serial Killer Suspect Charged in Fourth Murder

Rex Heuermann, the Long Island Serial Killer (LISK) suspect, has been charged in connection to the murder of a fourth woman. The 59-year-old returned to court on Tuesday, where he pleaded not guilty to the second-degree murder of Maureen Brainard-Barnes. 

The charges surrounding Brainard-Barnes mark the last of “The Gilgo Four” murders to be officially attributed to Heuermann and the closure of the grand jury investigation. While at least 10 bodies were discovered buried on the coast of Long Island’s Gilgo Beach in Dec. 2010, police believed the corpses of four women found in close proximity to each other, each wrapped in similar burlap, were killed by the same person. Maureen Brainard-Barnes, Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman, and Amber Costello, all of whom were sex workers at the time of their deaths, were dubbed “The Gilgo Four,” and remained cold case victims of the Long Island Serial Killer until Heuermann’s arrest in July 2023. Following his arrest, Heuermann, a resident of Massapequa, Long Island, pleaded not guilty to six counts of first and second-degree murder, and according to his defense attorney, has maintained his innocence

Brainard-Barnes was last seen in New York on July 9, 2007. When authorities discovered her body, it was found tied up with three leather belts. According to the publicly filed bail application for Heuermann, hair found in Brainard-Barnes’ remains was forensically matched to Huermann’s wife Asa Ellerup, implicating the belt came from Heuermann’s home.

Prosecutors say that the women’s murders each occurred while Ellerup and her children were out of the state, “which allowed Defendant Heuermann unfettered time to execute his plans for each victim without any fear that his family would uncover or learn of his involvement in these crimes.” 

Police also linked Heuermann’s phone bills to burner phones used to set up meeting times with three of the four victims and a burner phone used to call in and check Brainard-Barnes’ voicemail after she was reported missing. 

Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney held a press conference Tuesday, where he confirmed the additional charges and said the prosecution looks forward to proving the allegations in court and bringing a “small measure of closure for the family members.”


“Maureen was an intellectual. She was a writer. She was an artistic person. She cared very deeply about the people that she loved,” Tierney said Tuesday. “She was a devoted sister, devoted mother, devoted daughter. She is sorely missed by those who loved her.”

Heuermann is expected back in court in February.