Natural Science

published : 2023-09-28

DNA from suspect's cheek swab matches pizza box sample in Gilgo Beach murder case

Rex Heuermann, a New York City architect, faces murder charges in the Gilgo Beach slayings

A photo of Rex Heuermann standing outside his Manhattan architecture firm, taken with a Nikon D850.

In a shocking revelation made during court proceedings on Wednesday, prosecutors announced that the cheek swab DNA of suspected serial killer Rex Heuermann matches a sample collected from a pizza box found in a trash can outside his Manhattan architecture firm.

Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney expressed his satisfaction, stating that the DNA match aligns with their expectations. Tierney, who is leading the prosecution, eagerly awaits further developments in the case.

Heuermann's defense attorneys, Danielle Coysh and Mike Brown, had attempted to prevent authorities from collecting a cheek swab, arguing the lack of probable cause. However, the judge disagreed and allowed the swab to be taken.

A photograph of the pizza box recovered from outside Heuermann's office in Manhattan was presented as evidence in court. Heuermann, the accused architect behind the murders near Gilgo Beach, appeared before Judge Timothy P. Mazzei in Suffolk County Court.

According to court documents, the FBI observed Heuermann disposing of the pizza box before his arrest in July.

A close-up shot of the pizza box collected from the trash can outside Rex Heuermann's office, taken with a Canon EOS R.

Further forensic analysis reported a DNA match between the pizza box sample and evidence found at the Gilgo Beach crime scene, particularly linked to victim Megan Waterman's body.

Megan Waterman, who was 22 years old at the time, disappeared on June 6, 2010. Surveillance footage from a Hauppauge hotel captured her last sighting. Suffolk County police discovered her remains near Gilgo Beach on December 13, 2010, during their search for another missing woman named Shannan Gilbert.

Heuermann pleaded not guilty to six counts of murder, which include the killings of Waterman, Amber Costello, and Melissa Barthelemy.

District Attorney Tierney hinted that Heuermann could soon face charges related to the death of Maureen Brainard-Barnes, as her remains were found near the others along Ocean Parkway, close to Gilgo Beach.

The investigation into the Gilgo Beach case involved multiple avenues, including the discovery of burner phones that helped authorities track Heuermann's activities. A dedicated task force was created in 2021 to reexamine the unsolved murders.

An image of Megan Waterman, one of the victims in the Gilgo Beach murder case, captured from surveillance footage at a Hauppauge hotel, taken with a Sony A7 III.

Six additional bodies were unearthed alongside the victims initially sought, emphasizing the ongoing nature of the discovery process. Heuermann's next court appearance is scheduled for November 15, and if convicted, he could face life imprisonment without parole.

Currently, Heuermann is being held without bail at the Suffolk County Jail in Yaphank.

This latest development in the Gilgo Beach murder case has sent shockwaves through the community, leaving many anxious for the truth to be revealed and justice to be served.