Prosecutors claim that the US man accused of Gilgo Beach serial murders had a ‘blueprint” of crimes stored on his computer.

RIVERHEAD (New York) – Rex Heuermann, the New York architect charged with murdering several women and scattering their bodies along the Long Island coastline, kept a “blueprint’ of his crimes in his computer.

Heuermann, 60 years old, appeared in front of a judge and was arraigned for the deaths of Jessica Taylor, Sandra Costilla. Both young women were suspected to have been victims of men who preyed on sexworkers. Heuermann was previously charged with the murder of four women as part of a series known as Gilgo Beach Serial Killings.

Taylor vanished in 2003. Costilla’s murder took place 30 years ago in 1993. Her inclusion in the case shows that prosecutors believe Heuermann has been killing women much longer than they previously believed.

New charges were filed after police searched Heuermann’s home in Massapequa Park and an area of woods on Long Island that was tied to the investigation.

In a court document, prosecutors stated that they used new forensic testing techniques to match hairs on or around the victims’ bodies to a DNA pattern that was a match for Heuermann. Prosecutors also claim to have recovered a document on his basement hard drive that was used to “methodically plan” his murders.

The document is in all caps and includes a checklist of tasks that must be completed before, during, and after the killings. It also contains practical lessons to learn for “next-time”. The dozens of entries include reminders such as “get enough sleep before hunting” and “have story ready”.

Prosecutors said that one section, entitled “things to keep in mind”, appeared to draw lessons from past killings. For example, using heavier rope or limiting noise to maximize “play time” would be examples. The “body preparation” checklist contains, among other things, the note “remove hands and head”.

The prosecution believes that Heuermann’s entry could connect him to another victim: Valerie Mack. Her partial skeletal remains, discovered near Taylor’s body after her disappearance, were found nearby.

Heuermann is not charged with the death of Mack. When asked at a press conference following the hearing on Thursday if Heuermann was a suspect District Attorney Ray Tierney responded, “That is fair to say.”

Tierney acknowledged the importance of the “blueprint”, which Heuermann attempted to delete. It was found in March among the 350 electronic devices that were seized at the suspect’s house.

Heuermann, who was held without bail after pleading not guilty at the hearing to killing Taylor and Costilla, was also ordered to remain in custody. Michael Brown, Heuermann’s lawyer, told reporters outside the court that Heuermann was “clearly in a bad situation in terms of these new charges”.

Tierney stated that the addition of charges provided “some measure of closure” to the families.

Police have been investigating at least ten deaths – most of them female sexworkers – since late 2010. The remains were found along an isolated highway near Gilgo Beach, on Long Island’s southern shore.

These victims vanished over at least a period of 14 years. Detectives have made slow progress in identifying potential suspects. Long ago, investigators said that it was possible that not all the deaths were caused by the same murderer. Some victims disappeared in the mid-1990s. Investigators determined that the 11th person to disappear in 2010 from Oak Beach, a barrier island community, had drowned accidentally.

Heuermann was arrested in July last year. He lived across the bay from where bodies were discovered. The prosecutor said that a new task force of investigators used DNA samples and mobile phone location information to connect the architect with some of the victims. He was accused of killing four women: Megan Waterman (the architect), Melissa Barthelemy (the victim), Amber Lynn Costello, and Maureen Brainard Barnes.

Investigators who dug up Heuermann’s yard and searched his home extensively last summer, returned to the house in October and spent almost a week looking around. According to the lawyer for Heuermann’s wife, they concentrated their efforts mainly in the basement.

This search followed an April search of a wooded region in Manorville (about 40 miles east of Heuermann’s home) and the Southampton hamlet in North Sea where Costilla’s remains were found decades ago.

Tierney stated that the document had been recovered in March and was the reason for the recent search.

The prosecution also claimed that they had found in Heuermann’s possession a book by retired FBI agent John Douglas entitled Cases That Haunt us. The document referred to specific pages from Douglas’ Mind Hunter that discussed the personalities of serial killers, as well as profiles of those who commit mutilation or sexual violence.

Jessica Taylor, 20 years old, vanished from New York City in 2003. She was working as an escort. In Manorville, some of her remains had been discovered that year. In 2011, other remains were discovered during a search of the scrub along the Ocean Parkway road, where the Gilgo Beach victims had been found.

Elizabeth Baczkiel was in court for the hearing on Thursday. She showed reporters photos of Taylor as a child, but did not speak with the media. Gloria Allred read out a statement by Baczkiel, in which the actress described her daughter’s character as “loving and compassionate” and that she would make a good mother.

The statement read: “My dear daughter, you will always be in our hearts.” You will always be in our hearts.

Valerie Mack, 24, a 24-year-old escort who worked in Philadelphia, vanished in 2000. Her family was last seen in Port Republic, New Jersey near Atlantic City. In the woods of Manorville, some of her skeletal remnants were found that year. In 2011, more of her remains was found during a search near Gilgo Beach.

Initially known by the name “Jane Doe No. Mack’s remains were not identified until 2020 when genetic tests revealed her identity.

Costilla, who lived in New York City and was 28 years old at the time of her death, was murdered.

Suffolk County prosecutors publicly stated a decade ago that they believed Costilla was murdered by John Bittrolff. Bittrolff is a carpenter from the area who had previously been convicted of killing two other women, whose bodies were discovered in the same region of Long Island.

Bittrolff, however, was never charged for Costilla’s murder due to a lack of evidence. He has also insisted that he did not kill anyone.

After today’s confirmation, John Bittrolff did not have anything to do with Sandra Costilla’s death, I hope the Gilgo Beach Task Force conducts a real, meaningful investigation to find Rita Tangredi, and Colleen MacNamee, the women Bittrolff has been convicted of murdering. His lawyer Jon Manley made the statement on Thursday.

Heuermann’s attorney, Brown, stated that he intended to request Bittrolff’s prosecution files.

He said, “Quite honestly, the police and district attorney’s offices all pointed the finger at Bittrolff as the murderer.” AP

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