Gilgo Beach suspect Rex Heuermann nods as prosecutors read sickening ‘planning document’ in court (2024)

Gilgo Beach murder suspect Rex Heuermann kept meticulous notes on his kills — including reminders for future murders like “hit harder” and to get more sleep to have more “play time,” prosecutors revealed Thursday — as he was charged with two more slayings.

Heuermann, 60, who is accused of killing multiple women and leaving their remains scattered along Long Island’s Ocean Parkway, appeared in court Thursday morning and pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder charges for the 1993 death of Sandra Costilla and the 2003 killing of Jessica Taylor.

He nodded along as Suffolk County prosecutors read aloud from an alleged “planning document” recovered from a computer in his Massapequa Park home that they say served as a “blueprint” for his twisted crimes and showed his “obvious” intention to kill the women.


The married father of two — who was first arrested last year in the murders of fouryoung women known “Gilgo Four” —was linked to both Costilla and Taylor through DNA from male and female hairs found on their remains, prosecutors said in a court filing.


Prosecutors’ case’ so far has mostly relied on evidence that showed him in the same location as burner phones used to contact some of the victims and taunt their families, as well as DNA found on several victims that was linked to him.

But in March of this year, investigators discovered a damning trove of “planning documents” that Heuermann allegedly used to “methodically blueprint” his kills, the new filing alleged.

The shockingevidence was found on a hard drive taken from Heuermann’s basem*nt during a search in the wake of his arrest in July 2023, prosecutors said.

“The task force believes that this is a planning document that was used by Heuermann to plot out his kills with excruciating detail,” Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney told reporters after the arraignment Thursday.

“His motivations, meticulous planning, and clear intent was obvious. His intent was nothing short but to murder these victims.”

Heuermann’s lists included notes on potential or past dump sites, as well as supplies that he used to try and evade detection as he allegedly targeted, tortured, and killed the young women.

During his court appearance, Heuermann appeared to nod along when the prosecution read out an excerpt from his list that suggested he should “‘hit [the victim] harder next time.’”

One list marked “POST EVENT” included reminders to “change tires,” “burn gloves,” “dispose of pics [of victims],” and “have story set,”while another titled “PROBLEMS” noted the potential pitfalls of DNA evidence or fingerprints.

The list titled “BODY PREP” included notes to wash the “inside and all cavities” of his deceased victim and to remove their “head and hands” and “marks from torture.”

Another list detailing post-crime cleanup referred to strategies for hanging drop cloths from the ceiling and concerns about how sound travels – leading investigators to believe that the torture “likely” took place inside Heuermann’s home.

Heuermann even noted that getting more sleep was important in order to have “more play time” – the sick euphemism he supposedly used to refer to torturing and killing the victims.


Authorities also found Heuermann’s“significant collection” of torture p*rn, including images of breast mutilation and vagin*l torture.

The architect had also compiled what appeared to be notes from a first edition paperback of“Mindhunter”by retired FBI agent John Douglas, the prosecution noted.

Heuermann also had a copy of Douglas’ “The Cases That Haunt Us,” which included analysis on victimology and other evidence in some of the United States’ most infamous crimes. Douglas did not reply to The Post’s request for a comment.

Who were the Gilgo Beach victims?

Suspected serial killer Rex Heuermann — a New York City architect and married dad of two — was arrested in connection with thelong-unsolved Gilgo Beach murders. The arrest is tied to the so-called “Gilgo Four,” women found wrapped in burlap within days of each other in late 2010.

The years-long investigation that led to the arrest revolved around thediscovery of more than 10 sets of human remainsalong Ocean Parkway near Gilgo Beach in Suffolk County between December 2010 and April 2011.

Most victims were petite female sex workers with green or hazel eyes. But there were also two exceptions: a 2-year-old girl and a young Asian man.

Melissa Barthelemy, 24

  • Barthelemy was a sex worker who lived in the Unionport section of the Bronx and dreamed of one day opening her own beauty salon. She was last seen alive in her basem*nt apartment on Underhill Avenue on July 12, 2009. Heuermann was charged for Barthelemy’s murder in July 2023.

Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 25

  • Brainard-Barnes was living in Norwich, Connecticut. She went missing after taking an Amtrak train from New London, Connecticut, to Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan on July 6, 2007. Her remains were found in December 2010. Heuermann was charged for Brainard-Barnes’ murder in January 2024.

Amber Lynn Costello, 27

  • Costello, 27, was a sex worker and heroin addict who lived in West Babylon, New York, at a home with a woman and two men. She advertised on Craigslist and Backpage to support her and her roommates’ drug habits. Costello was found on December 13, 2010, after having been last seen leaving her home September 2, 2010. Heuermann was charged for Costello’s murder in July 2023.

Megan Waterman, 22

  • Waterman, a 22-year-old mom of one, was last seen on June 6, 2010. She lived in Scarborough, Maine, and earned a living as an escort. She was last seen by her family boarding a New York-bound Concord Trailways bus in Maine. Her body was found on December 13, 2010, on the north side of Ocean Parkway, near Gilgo Beach. Heuermann was charged for Waterman’s murder in July 2023.


Jessica Taylor, 20

  • Remains belonging to Jessica Taylor, a 20-year-old woman working as an escort in New York City, were found in a wooded area in Manorville on July 26, 2003. Her additional remains — initially labeled “Jane Doe No. 5” — were discovered on March 29, 2011, along Ocean Parkway.

Valerie Mack, 24

  • Valerie Mack was 24 years old and living in Philadelphia when she went missing. She worked as an escort, using the alias “Melissa Taylor.” Relatives last saw Mack in the spring or summer of 2000 in Port Republic, New Jersey, but she was never reported as missing to the police. Her partial skeletal remains were found in Manorville in September 2000 but were initially known as “Jane Doe No. 6.” More bones were found on April 4, 2011, along Ocean Parkway.

Unidentified Asian man

  • The skeletal remains of a yet-to-be-identified Asian man were found along Ocean Parkway on April 4, 2011. It is estimated that the man was between 17 and 23 years old at the time of his death. He was approximately 5 feet 6 inches tall with bad teeth.

‘Peaches’ and her daughter

  • An African American woman’s partial remains were discovered in Hempstead Lake State Park back in 1997, and she had become known as “Peaches” because of a bitten tattoo of a peach on her left breast. On April 4, 2011, police uncovered the remains of a toddler, who was about 2 years old at the time of her death. DNA testing confirmed that one of the skeletons was that of the 2-year-old girl’s mother, “Peaches.”

Karen Vergata

  • A victim previously referred to as Jane Doe No. 7 has been identified as 34-year-old Manhattan woman Karen Vergata. Vergata is believed to have disappeared around Feb. 14, 1996; two months later, her legs were found in a plastic bag at a park near Fire Island’s Blue Point Beach. At the time of her disappearance, Vergata was believed to have been working as an escort. Two sets of Vergata’s remainswere identified in August 2023.

Shannan Gilbert, 23

  • Gilbert was a Craigslist escort who lived in Jersey City, traveled with her driver Michael Pak from Manhattan to meet a client, Joseph Brewer, at his home in the Oak Beach Association on the morning of May 1, 2010. She spoke with two neighbors before disappearing. Her body was discovered in a marsh near Oak Beach — about half a mile from where she was last seen alive — on December 13, 2011.

Jessica Taylor, 20

  • Taylor, a 20-year-old woman working as an escort in New York City, were found in a wooded area in Manorville on July 26, 2003. Her additional remains — initially labeled “Jane Doe No. 5” — were discovered on March 29, 2011, along Ocean Parkway.

Sandra Costilla

  • Costilla was murdered in 1993 but had not been included among the so-called Gilgo Beach victims — until now. Investigators suspected convicted serial killer John Bittrolff in Costilla’s death, but he was never charged in her slaying — which remains one of several unsolved Long Island murders.

The content on the hard drive was a “significant” factor in investigators’ decision tosearch Heuermann’s home again last monthand todeploy K9 units at the sites where Costilla and Taylor’s remains were found, Tierney said at Thursday’s presser.


The body ofSandraCostilla, 28, was discovered by a pair of hunters in a wooded part of Southampton on Nov. 20, 1993.

Her body had been arranged with her arms out above her head and her legs spread open, court documents filed Thursday.



Her shirt had been pulled up, and she had 25 total sharp force injuries to her face, torso, breasts, vagin*l area, and left thigh.

The gruesome injuries are believed to have been mostly inflicted postmortem, Tierney said.

Shortly after her remains were found,forensic examiners found unidentified female and male hairs on Costilla’s remains, the document stated.

In 2014, the hair evidence was used to rule out suspect John Bittrolff – a convicted murderer who was believed to have been tied to Costilla’s killing, the new charging documents revealed.


In February and March 2024, the male and female hairs found on the body were found to match Heuerrmann and the unnamed woman he was living with at around the time of Costilla’s murder.

The woman – who is referred to as Witness 3 in the bail application – moved out of Heuermann’s Massapequa Park home in September 1993, about two months before Costilla’s disappearance and death.

Heuermann’s mother had also left the home shortly before Witness 3 moved out, the bail application stated – suggesting that Heuermann had free reign to kill Costilla and transport her body out east.

Unlike Heuermann’s other alleged victims, there was no record of Costilla having been a sex worker, early reports indicated. The Suffolk County DA’s office did not return The Post’s request for a comment on the matter.


Jessica Taylor was 20 years old when she disappeared on July 21, 2003.

She was last seen in person in New York City on July 19, and was reported missing when she failed to return home to Poughkeepsie for her mother’s birthday, prosecutors said.

Her torso and legs were found by a dog walker in a wooded area of Manorville on July 26, 2003.

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She had been decapitated and both of her arms were severed from her body below the elbows. A tattoo on her torso had also been “severely obliterated by a sharp object,” the filing stated.

About 13 hours before the dog walker found Taylor’s partial remains, another witness reportedly saw a dark-colored Chevrolet pickup truck backed into the wooded area where the mutilated torso was discovered, the application said.

Internet search data revealed that Heuermann shopped for a new, light-colored truck in the days after Taylor’s remains were found – despite the fact that his own dark green Chevy was only about four months old.


Taylor’s skull, hands and forearms were found on March 29, 2011, along Ocean Parkway, just east of Gilgo Beach – less than a mile from the bodies of the “Gilgo Four.”

Authorities now believe that the extensive mutilation “were acts perpetrated by Rex A. Heuermann to…inhibit the identification of the victim,” court filings said.

The initial examination of Taylor’s remains in 2003 brought up a male hair on the surgical drape found underneath the victim. Earlier this year, a DNA sample from that hair was found to bea matchto the buccal swab taken from Heuermann.


Taylor was known to have earned a living as a sex worker in midtown Manhattan, not far from where Heuermann’s office was at the time.

An interview with one of Heuermann’s daughter’s former classmates also revealed that his wife, Asa Ellerup, took their two children on vacation to Vermont between July 20-27, 2003.

The trip was subsequently confirmed via phone records and electronic data.

Heuermann’s family was also notably out of town during the dates he was accused of targeting and killing the Gilgo Four between 2007 and 2010.

Taylor’s mother, Eilzabeth Baczkiel, attended the Thursday morning press conference with attorney Gloria Allred.


“Jessica, my darling daughter, you will never be forgotten. You will always be missed,” Backziel said in a statement read by Allred.

Taylor was remembered by her family as “loving, compassionate, and so funny.”


Heuermann’s defense attorney, Michael Brown, told The Post that his client was “startled” and “adamant about his innocence” in light of the new charges.


When asked about Heuermann’s behavior in the courtroom Brown said he was mostly focused on processing what was happening.

“He wasn’t looking at much. You’re up there in handcuffs before a judge. He wasn’t really scrutinizing it the way you or I would,” the lawyer insisted.

Investigators are still going through data from a massive trove of devices linked to Heuermann, including 15 different types of cameras, 27 computers, and 46 cell phones, Tierney said after the arraignment.


Thursday’s proceedings bring the total number of murders Heuermann stands accused of to six – and prosecutors indicated even more charges could be on the horizon.

Prosecutors believe that one of the sections on the planning list could be tied to another victim, Valerie Mack, a 23-year-old escort whose partial remains were found near Taylor’s body.

While Heuermann has not been charged in Mack’s death, prosecutors said it’s “fair to say” that he’s a suspect in the case.

“We are going to continue to investigate. We’ll talk about whatever other investigation we’re undergoing when and if we bring those charges,” Tierney said.

Gilgo Beach suspect Rex Heuermann nods as prosecutors read sickening ‘planning document’ in court (2024)


Who is Sandra Costilla? ›

Costilla, 28 years old when she was killed, was a native of Trinidad and Tobago but had live in New York City before her death. Costilla's death had not been tied to the Gilgo Beach investigation until K-9 units searched the wooded North Sea property where her remains had been found in April.

How old are Rex Heuermann's kids? ›

Alleged Gilgo Beach serial killer Rex Heuermann's children, 26-year-old Victoria Heuermann and 33-year-old Christopher Sheridan, are living in a “surreal, waking horror show,” their attorney has said. Vess Mitev said they hired him to protect them while the investigation is “heating up.”

How did they find the Gilgo Beach Killer? ›

Investigators matched DNA from hair recovered from the burlap used to wrap Waterman's body to leftover pizza crust Heuermann threw into a Manhattan garbage can in January 2023, according to court documents. Detectives also tracked Heuermann through cellphone records, according to court records.

How many Gilgo Beach victims? ›

Between 2010 and 2011, police uncovered the remains of 11 people found near Gilgo Beach between Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island. Most of them were sex workers who were killed as early as 1996, according to Suffolk County Police.

When was Jessica Taylor found? ›

In July 2003, a person walking their dog found the remains of Jessica Taylor in the Long Island, New York, village of Manorville. The remains were identified as Taylor, even though the head was missing and the arms had been removed below the elbows. A tattoo on her torso was also mangled with a sharp object.

When did the Gilgo Beach Murders start? ›

The Gilgo Beach serial killings were a series of killings between 1993 and 2011 in which the remains of 11 people were found in Gilgo Beach, located on the South Shore of Long Island, New York, United States. Most of the known victims were sex workers who advertised on Craigslist.

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