Crime & Courts

Suspected Long Island Serial Killer Has Extensive Ties To South Carolina

Will Rex Heuermann be linked to missing persons cases in the Carolinas?

by JENN WOOD and CALLIE LYONS

The arrest of a suspect in the high-profile Long Island Serial Killer (LISK) case on July 13, 2023 stunned the nation. Fifty-nine-year-old architectural consultant Rex Heuermann of Massapequa Park, N.Y. was arrested and charged with murdering three women whose bodies were discovered more than a dozen years ago at Gilgo Beach along Long Island’s South Shore.

“Rex Heuermann is a demon that walks amongst us, a predator that ruined families,” Suffolk County police commissioner Rodney Harrison said in announcing Heuermann’s arrest.

Heuermann has been charged with the murders of Melissa Barthélemy, 24, of Buffalo, N.Y.; Megan Waterman, 22, of South Portland Maine and Amber Lynn Costello, 27, of North Babylon, N.Y. All three women worked as escorts. They were reported missing on July 10, 2009, June 6, 2010 and September 2, 2010, respectively.

The married father of two has pleaded not guilty to all three murders and is being held without bail at the Suffolk County correctional facility. As with anyone accused of committing any crime, he is considered innocent until proven guilty by our criminal justice system.

“I didn’t do this,” Heuermann said through his attorney, Michael J. Brown, a former Suffolk County prosecutor.

(Click to view)

Rex Heuermann (Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office)

In addition to the three murders of which he stands accused, Heuermann is also considered the primary suspect in the death of 25-year-old Maureen Brainard-Barnes of Norwich, Connecticut. Brainard-Barnes was last seen on July 9, 2007 after traveling to New York City.

The remains of all four women were discovered in December 2010 on Gilgo Beach – which is located approximately thirty miles south-southeast of midtown Manhattan, where Heuermann worked and where he was arrested last Thursday.

As state and federal law enforcement agencies work to connect the dots on the past activities (and future plans) of the accused serial killer, their focus has turned to South Carolina and Chester County – where Heuermann had an interest in at least four parcels of land. FITSNews is researching the possibility that he may have interest in additional properties in Chester County.

Our audience has raised many questions about Heuermann, his South Carolina properties and the vehicles seized from them. They want to know whether the Long Island murder investigations could potentially help solve cases of other missing women from South Carolina – and beyond.

After Heuermann was taken into custody, a massive search effort involving the places he lived, worked and stored personal belongings began. During the investigation and prior to the arrest, the Chester County sheriff’s office was requested by the Gilgo Beach Task Force to assist in gathering evidence in Chester County relevant to their investigation. According to a press release, Chester sheriff’s deputies have “and will continue to work closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Suffolk County law enforcement authorities during this very important and arduous investigation.” 

The four parcels belonging to Rex Heuermann were purchased from Mirror Lakes Inc. on July 28, 2021 and consist of nearly 22 acres, combined. Some border bodies of water. All are remote.

(Click to view)

(Via: Chester County)

What prompted us to link Rex Heuermann and Mirror Lakes?  Chester’s tax department lists the Mirror Lakes properties as being “in care of” Rex Heuermann. In other words, while his name is not on the deed alongside the incorporation – Heuermann who has been identified as the responsible party for the payment of property taxes.  

This is what we know so far: Rex Heuermann’s brother, Craig Heuermann, is a longtime resident of Chester County, South Carolina. In fact, Craig Heuermann’s residence borders one of the properties Rex Heuermann purchased on July 28, 2021. 

Tax records indicate Craig Heuermann owns a 2002 Chevy Avalanche. Authorities say an Avalanche was seized in Chester County as part of the ongoing, multi-state investigation.  As of this writing, none of Rex Heuermann’s family members have been implicated in any criminal activity. At this time, the significance of the Avalanche seized in Chester County is not known – although a similar vehicle was seized from Rex Heuermann’s New York residence. 

According to Chester County’s Register of Deeds, Rex Heuermann purchased the four tracts of land – all located in the Mirror Lakes Subdivision – from Mirror Lakes, Inc., a South Carolina corporation formed in August 1995 according to the S.C. Secretary of State’s office.

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The corporation came into existence a matter of days before it acquired several parcels of land in the area – including the four tracts purchased by Heuermann. More than a dozen Chester County properties in that vicinity were purchased by Mirror Lakes, Inc. on that same day.

The most expensive land acquired? A two-acre cemetery with a price tag of more than $543,000. Chester County property records indicate the cemetery and eight other parcels remain the property of Mirror Lakes, Inc.  

While the specific nature of Rex Heuermann’s relationship with this corporation is unknown, a mortgage of the property dated May 1, 2021 names Mirror Lakes, Inc. as the lender. The five-year mortgage of the property Rex Heuermann acquired in July 2021 is in the amount of $82,634. While it is not unheard of for a corporation to be a lender, county records indicate this is the only time Mirror Lakes, Inc. has done so.

While this news outlet – and many others across the country – chase property records tied to Heuermann, many are wondering if he is potentially tied to any unsolved homicides or missing individuals in South Carolina. During the press conference following his arrest, Suffolk County district attorney Ray Tierney provided insight into Heuermann’s alleged victim preferences.

He noted that in addition to the alleged victims all working in the sex industry, they all had a similar body type.

“All the women were petite,” he said. “They all did the same thing for a living. They all advertised the same way. Immediately there were similarities with regard to the crime scenes. The killer concealed their bodies by wrapping them in camouflaged burlap, the type used by hunters.”

(Click to view)

Suffolk County (YouTube)

Is Heuermann tied to any South Carolina cold cases? As of this writing there is nothing to suggest so, but that hasn’t stopped Palmetto State residents from speculating.

One cold case that has continued to confound South Carolina investigators involves Dail Dinwiddie – the 23-year-old art student who disappeared in the early morning hours of September 24, 1992. Dinwiddie vanished without a trace from the Five Points region of downtown Columbia, S.C. after she was separated from her friends at a bar. She hasn’t been seen or heard from since … and her case remains one of South Carolina’s most famous unsolved mysteries.

In reviewing the files of missing women in North and South Carolina, many appear to fit Heuermann’s profile type. And while there have been no reports connecting any of these individuals to Heuermann, it is important to keep drawing public attention to these cold cases – remembering that friends and family members in our communities are still actively searching for these women.

FITSNews is sharing their photos today – not to imply they are tied in any way to the Long Island Serial Killer – but to help publicize their cases while this discussion is ongoing.

Count on this news outlet to continue following this investigation as it unfolds … keeping our readers apprised of any new developments. Also count on us to update readers in the event there are any new developments in the Dinwiddie case – or the cases of Naomi Collins, Tina Marie Crouch, Jessica Fallon Hooks and Heather Rena Sellars.

Got information to share on any of these cases? If so, reach out to our director of research Jenn Wood (jenn@fitsnews.com).

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THE DOCUMENTS …

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Jenn Wood (Provided)

Jenn Wood is FITSNews’ incomparable research director. She’s also the producer of the FITSFiles and Cheer Incorporated podcasts and leading expert on all things Murdaugh/ South Carolina justice. A former private investigator with a criminal justice degree, evildoers beware, Jenn Wood is far from your average journalist! A deep dive researcher with a passion for truth and a heart for victims, this mom of two is pretty much a superhero in FITSNews country. Did we mention she’s married to a rocket scientist? (Lucky guy!) Got a story idea or a tip for Jenn? Email her at jenn@fitsnews.com.

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1 comment

MemoryQueen Top fan July 26, 2023 at 7:07 pm

Jenn, not sure if you’ve searched obits for the Heuermann family and I’m not positive IF these folks I’ve reviewed are in fact relatives, but there does seem to be some attributes that indicate a possibility and raise an eyebrow or two. It would be eery if the sport of hunting people was a family affair, but it’s not too hard of a reach. These livlihoods/hobbies/volunteer work trends could be useful should you be in the murder business. But then, so could many others. I certainly do not want to disrespect the deceased…any of them.

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