The sad New Jersey connections to the Gilgo Beach serial killer case
⭕ Police have arrested man accused of several Gilgo Beach murders
⭕ At least two women from New Jersey were buried in the same New York beach area
⭕ Search for a New Jersey woman lead to the first of 10 sets of human remains found
The search for a missing New Jersey woman in 2010 was what led to the first of nearly a dozen gruesome discoveries on Long Island, collectively known as the Gilgo Beach homicides.
On July 14, law enforcement in New York announced murder charges against Rex Heuermann, an architect from Massapequa Park. He was seen being led to a police cruiser in video posted by New York Post.
Heuermann, a married father of two, so far has been accused in the killings of three women — out of at least nine women whose remains were found along Ocean Parkway on Long Island.
⭕ NJ woman’s disappearance in May 2010 sparks wide search
The night of May 1, 2010, 23-year-old Shannan Gilbert disappeared in Suffolk County, New York, after being last seen running through the gated community of Oak Beach.
An eight-month search for Gilbert, who lived in Jersey City, ultimately led to the remains of a different young woman — later identified as 24-year-old Melissa Barthelemy, of the Bronx.
Barthelemy was last seen alive on July 12, 2009 — and was reported missing to the NYPD.
On Dec. 11, 2010, Barthelemy’s body was found on the north side of Ocean Parkway, near Gilgo Beach.
Both Gilbert and Barthelemy, as well as the other women identified by their remains, had been known to work as escorts. Many of them had met clients through Craigslist.
⭕ Continued search for Jersey City woman turns up more victims
Two days after Barthelemy’s body was found, police recovered three more female victims along Ocean Parkway — later identified as 27-year-old Amber Lynn Costello, 22-year-old Megan Waterman and 25-year-old Maureen Brainard-Barnes.
Brainard-Barnes had been living in Connecticut and was last seen alive in New York in June 2007.
Costello, originally from Florida, was last seen in September 2010.
Waterman, a Maine resident working in New York, was reported missing in June 2010.
Investigators resumed their search for Gilbert — and found a fifth woman's skull in March 2011.
The skull was matched to partial remains already found more than 30 miles away, in Manorville (Suffolk County) in July 2003 — identified as Jessica Taylor of New York.
⭕ ‘Jane Doe 6’ ID’ed as NJ woman with Philadelphia ties
On April 4, 2011, remains of “Jane Doe 6” were found on Ocean Parkway in Suffolk County — they remained unidentified until nine years later.
Those remains were matched to partial remains found nearly a decade earlier in Manorville in November 2000.
In May 2020, advanced forensic DNA technology helped match the body to Valerie Mack.
Mack’s family said that they last saw the 24-year-old in the summer of 2000 in the Atlantic County municipality of Port Republic. She had also spent time living and working as an escort in Philadelphia.
Many of the women found — including Barthelemy, Costello and Mack — were just under 5 feet tall, while Waterman was 5 feet, 5 inches.
⭕ Many unanswered questions in Gilgo Beach killings
Another set of remains found on April 11, 2011, along Ocean Parkway in Nassau County have also been linked by DNA to partial remains found in Davis Park on Fire Island. "Jane Doe Seven" has not yet been identified.
In winter 2022, a task force of local, state and federal agencies was created by Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison to try and crack the Gilgo Beach homicides.
As of July 19, Heuermann, who stands 6 feet 4 inches, was accused in the killings of Barthelemy, Costello and Waterman.
By Tuesday, New York State Police were seen in South Carolina, picking up a wrapped truck that many have speculated was among evidence being collected in the case.
Over the course of the investigation so far, Suffolk County police have said that Gilbert’s death has not been linked to a potential serial killer — though a definitive cause of death remained unclear.
Anyone with potential information was still urged to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.