HomeOthersIn Gilgo Beach Killings, an arrest confirms a decade-old prediction - UnlistedNews

In Gilgo Beach Killings, an arrest confirms a decade-old prediction – UnlistedNews

In April 2011, just months after the bodies of four buried women were discovered near Gilgo Beach on Long Island’s south shore, experts and criminologists drew up a sketch for The New York Times of the features they expected to see in a suspect.

The women, wrapped in burlap and buried a quarter-mile apart from each other in an area where the remains of 11 total people would eventually be found, were likely killed by a white man between the ages of 20 and 40. saying. He is married or has a girlfriend. He is well educated and well spoken. He is financially secure, has a job, owns an expensive car or truck, and lives or used to live near where the bodies were found.

On Friday, details began to emerge about Rex Heuermann, who has been arrested and charged with murder for the murders of three of the women. Prosecutors said he was the prime suspect in the death of the fourth woman. Heuermann, 59, is a married white man who works as an architect in Manhattan and lives in Massapequa Park, about 15 miles from Gilgo Beach. He had a Chevrolet Avalanche pickup at the time of the slayings, prosecutors said.

None of this proves that Mr. Heuermann is the serial killer, and experts noted that the profiles are generally used to test people who have already come to the attention of investigators. But the similarities were not lost on some of the experts who compiled the 2011 profile.

“When I heard the news yesterday, I had to smile to myself because it was more or less what I had predicted,” Scott Bonn, a criminologist, author and serial killer investigator who has spoken on the Gilgo Beach murders, said in a phone interview on Saturday.

Mr. Heuermann, who is being held without bond at the Suffolk County Correctional Center in Riverhead, New York, pleaded not guilty to the charges. His lawyer said in front of the court on Friday that he had denied committing the murders.

The attorney, Michael Brown, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday night. On Saturday morning, the block around Mr. Heuermann’s house remained closed by police to all but residents. Several box trucks were parked outside the house to take away the items collected as evidence.

Profiling killers is not a precise science. And the portrait the experts drew in 2011 could describe many men who live on Long Island and commute to Manhattan for work.

“The thing about serial killers, at least the ones that are more prolific, is that they are often extraordinarily common,” said James Alan Fox, a Northeastern University professor who has studied serial killers for more than 40 years. .

Rex HeuermannCredit…Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, via Associated Press

“You can’t use a profile to find the killer,” Fox said, adding that there have been cases where profiles were incorrect.

In 2011, Dr. Bonn, then an assistant professor of sociology at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, predicted that the killer would be “someone who can walk into a room and look like your average Joe.”

The man would be organized, he believed, and careful with his work. He told The Times the killer was likely “persuasive and rational enough” to persuade his victims to meet him on his terms.

Dr. Bonn said Saturday that he was not surprised to learn of Mr. Heuermann’s profession. “Who is more organized, who is more meticulous, than someone who studied engineering and architecture?” he said. Heuermann would have to be persuasive to sell his skills, he added.

Prolific serial killers tend to be very careful not to leave behind evidence and may hide in plain sight, blending into their communities, experts said.

“Usually, they have jobs and families and they kill part-time,” Fox said. “It’s not their only activity in life.”

Those who worked with Heuermann said he was extremely demanding, impressing some clients while infuriating others with his attention to detail. Some of his neighbors described him as an “average” man who they wouldn’t consider “anything but a businessman.” To others, he was someone to avoid: a grim, imposing individual they’d see in the front yard of a low-rise, dilapidated house.

“We would cross the street,” said Nicholas Ferchaw, 24, a neighbor. “It was someone you didn’t want to get close to.”

Serial killers can have seemingly contradictory personalities, Dr. Bonn said.

“These people live compartmentalized lives,” he said, noting that Mr. Heuermann “obviously worked out very well: He had his own architecture firm and he picked up his briefcase, he got on the train, he went into town every day, he went to Manhattan. and was able to function.

“But then,” he said, “it’s almost like they flip a switch and become another individual entirely.”

corey kilgannon contributed reporting.


Sara Marcus
Sara Marcushttps://unlistednews.com
Meet Sara Marcus, our newest addition to the Unlisted News team! Sara is a talented author and cultural critic, whose work has appeared in a variety of publications. Sara's writing style is characterized by its incisiveness and thought-provoking nature, and her insightful commentary on music, politics, and social justice is sure to captivate our readers. We are thrilled to have her join our team and look forward to sharing her work with our readers.


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