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Gilgo Beach murders: Massapequa Park residents worry suspect Rex Heuermann's home will draw gawkers

Police reveal why they pushed up the timeline in Gilgo Beach suspect's arrest
Police reveal why they pushed up the timeline in Gilgo Beach suspect's arrest 03:03

MASSAPEQUA PARK, N.Y. -- The Gilgo Beach murder case remains active, days after a suspect was arrested. Investigators remained at Rex Heuermann's home on Long Island on Monday.

People came by bicycle, car, and foot to catch a glimpse of police working on the sensational case.

Law enforcement confiscated an arsenal of nearly 300 guns, framed pictures, even a child-like doll from Heuermann's disheveled Massapequa Park home.

"They should knock it down," one person said.

READ MOREWho is Rex Heuermann? What we know about the Gilgo Beach murders suspect

Police were also searching a nearby storage unit they say is connected to the Gilgo case. It's where Heuermann kept unnamed items.

"Nobody knew him. Any neighbor around here did not know him," Bob Musto said. 

Across Massapequa Park, homeowners said they are worried about their village becoming a tourist town for gawkers, comparing it to the "Amityville horror" house two miles away.

"To me, it's like the same beautiful neighborhood, with this weird-looking house. In Amityville, it was the only house where the side faced the street," resident Robert Gayer said.

"Coming down to get a glimpse of just the house where he lived. I don't want to compare it to the Amityville horror house," Massapequa Park Mayor Daniel Pearl said. "I'd love to bring back the peace the village enjoyed prior to this incident and erase all memories of whatever occurred."

READ MOREGilgo Beach murders: Investigators comb through Midtown office

New York State Police discuss Gilgo Beach murders investigation 06:19

During a news conference on Monday afternoon, New York State Police Maj. Stephen Udice said one investigator from Troop L on Long Island was assigned to the case being run by the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office. That investigator worked solely on the Gilgo Beach case, starting in February of 2022. A month later, that investigator notified the task force that a potential suspect, Heuermann, had been identified. It was the first time Heuermann's name had come up and the first time he was identified as a potential suspect in the case, Udice said.

The task force continued its investigation and eventually confirmed that Heuermann was a suspect in at least three of the murders.

Heuermann was arrested outside his Manhattan architectural office on Thursday night and was later charged in the murders of three women and is considered the prime suspect in the murder of a fourth. Their bodies found within a quarter mile of each other on Gilgo Beach in 2010, wrapped in burlap. All of them were sex workers.

When asked what his reaction was to hearing his neighbor was arrested, Musto said, "It was a shock, but he was a weirdo, ya know?"

"Heuermann had a double life. He had a wife. He had two kids, an architect, and I guess at nighttime turned into this monster," Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison said. "When we initially informed them about their husband, father, they were shocked. They were disgusted. They were embarrassed. So, I don't believe they knew about the double life Mr. Heuermann was living."

Neighbors are wondering if the victims were killed Massapequa Park. They also want to know if they were kept in refrigeration and buried together, and what, if any, DNA evidence will be found in his truck or work shed.

A witness tied Heuermann's vehicle to the disappearance of one of the women. Data from burner phones linked Heuermann. Investigators eventually obtained his DNA from a discarded pizza crust that matched a hair found on one of the victims.

READ MORENeighbors, former classmates, react to Rex Heuermann's arrest in Gilgo Beach murders: "It's mind-blowing"

"You never know who you live next door to," neighbor Sal Ruggiero said.

"It took this long to actually find him and you can run but you can't hide," said Frances Caldwell of Brooklyn.

"How did they find out? What took so long? That was my first reaction," added Julia Fernandez of Seaford.

The remains of seven other people were found near Gilgo Beach between 2010 and 2011. Heuermann has not been ruled out as a suspect in those unsolved cases.

"There's still an awful lot of investigation that has to be done to understand how many people were victims to this individual," said Mary Ellen O'Toole, a former FBI profiler.

Prosecutors said they pushed up the timeframe of the arrest because Heuermann was so closely monitoring the case online. Police had 24-hour surveillance on him during grand jury proceedings because they worried he might catch wind of the case and flee.

Heuermann has pleaded not guilty.

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