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Why did it take cops 12 YEARS to track down Gilgo Beach murders suspect Rex Heuermann’s Chevy? 

The first generation Chevy Avalanche described by a Gilgo Beach witness in 2010 appears on Google Street View outside prime suspect Rex Heuermann’s ramshackle home – as bungling cops repeatedly failed to act on clues pointing to him. 

Police are crediting the mention of a Chevy Avalanche belonging to accused serial killer Heuermann as ‘the turning point’ leading to his arrest, though many are wondering why it took so long to track it down.

Detectives finally connected Heuermann to the car in March 2022 after a 2010 witness testimony from the pimp of Amber Costello, one of the victims who disappeared that year.

The pimp described the owner of the Chevrolet Avalanche as looking like an ‘ogre’ and ‘the size of a mountain,’ adding ‘you might want to look into him,’ though he could not name Heuermann. 

Suffolk County Police Chief Rodney Harrison said the car was the ‘turning point’ leading to Heuermann’s arrest this week – telling the New York Daily News: ‘Once we got that car, who it connected to, that’s when the investigation got legs.’ 

But it has left many wondering why it took cops so long to track down Heuermann as the rare vehicle shows up outside his home in Massapequa Park, Long Island on Google Street View dating back to 2007.

Police are crediting the mention of a Chevy Avalanche belonging to suspected Gilgo Beach serial killer Rex Heuermann as 'the turning point' leading to his arrest, though many are wondering why it took so long to track it down

Police are crediting the mention of a Chevy Avalanche belonging to suspected Gilgo Beach serial killer Rex Heuermann as ‘the turning point’ leading to his arrest, though many are wondering why it took so long to track it down

The rare vehicle appears outside his home in Massapequa Park, Long Island in this 2007 Google Street View image which has lead many to say he had been hiding in plain sight

The rare vehicle appears outside his home in Massapequa Park, Long Island in this 2007 Google Street View image which has lead many to say he had been hiding in plain sight 

Manhattan architect Rex Heuermann, 59, is charged with three murders attributed to the Gilgo Beach serial killer, and is the prime suspect in a fourth victim's murder

Manhattan architect Rex Heuermann, 59, is charged with three murders attributed to the Gilgo Beach serial killer, and is the prime suspect in a fourth victim’s murder

Bing Maps also clearly shows the same black vehicle – which Chevy stopped producing in 2013 – in the driveway in 2021. 

‘It’s unclear why the Suffolk PD didn’t gather this info after the discovery of Amber Costello in late 2010,’ one Twitter user pointed out. ‘That would have at least put Heuermann on their radar much sooner.’

Costello’s pimp admitted that he had planned to rob him prior to the murder but chose not to take his shot because of Heuermann’s size. 

The witness described the customer as between 6ft 4 and 6ft 6, with a broad frame and glasses.

Heuermann stands at 6’6″ and can be seen wearing glasses in several images including a Tinder profile picture and his yearbook photo from 1981. 

He also described the suspect as ‘being into prostitutes,’ according to the New York Daily News

Heuermann, 59, was dramatically arrested Thursday night in midtown Manhattan outside his architectural office on Fifth Avenue, 13 years after the victims’ bodies were found on an isolated Long Island beach. 

Dominique Vidal, an interior designer who was in a networking organization with Rex Heuermann, said he once asked her if she knew of the Gilgo Beach murders

Dominique Vidal, an interior designer who was in a networking organization with Rex Heuermann, said he once asked her if she knew of the Gilgo Beach murders

On Friday after Heuermann’s arrest, the Chevy – which appeared to be in pristine condition – was seen being towed away by cops. 

On Sunday, state police, FBI and Crime Lab officials were seen removing evidence from Heuermann’s Long Island home – including what appeared to be a clear plastic bag of stuffed animals.

Since his arrest, many of Heuermann’s neighbors and associates have come forward to share their experiences with him – including interior designer, Dominique Vidal, who revealed the creepy voicemail message he had left on her phone in February.

Vidal said she had previously been in the same networking organization as Heuermann, who had asked her if she knew about the Gilgo Beach murders.

Heuermann has been charged with the murders of three Gilgo Beach victims – Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Costello. He has pleaded not guilty. 

He is also considered the prime suspect in the death of a fourth woman, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, whose body was bound and hidden in thick underbrush along a remote beach highway, authorities said.

A fleet of forensic investigators continue to comb through Heuermann’s home in hopes of finding further evidence in the serial murder case that stumped investigators for over a decade.

At a press conference on Friday, Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney said Heuermann said cops investigating him over the course of a year cited a number of red flags, saying that Heuermann ‘continued to patronize sex workers,’ was using false IDs and burner phones, and had permits for an astonishing 92 firearms. 

The first generation Chevy Avalanche could also be seen outside the home in 2021 on Bing Maps but cops did not close in for another year

The first generation Chevy Avalanche could also be seen outside the home in 2021 on Bing Maps but cops did not close in for another year

Heuermann, 59, was dramatically arrested Thursday night in midtown Manhattan outside his architectural office on Fifth Avenue

Heuermann, 59, was dramatically arrested Thursday night in midtown Manhattan outside his architectural office on Fifth Avenue

On Saturday, cops were seen carrying out a child-sized blonde doll that was kept in a large wooden and glass case adorned with flowers.

The creepy doll with a red bow adorned on top of its head, wearing a red outfit, was just one of several items officers clad in hazmat suits, gloves and masks took out of the home and filled into a truck.

‘We’re just going through his house, looking to see if there’s any evidence,’ a police source told the New York Post. ‘If he has any trophies’ from the victims whose bodies he dumped at Gilgo Beach.

Neighbors have previously said that the suspected serial killer had always been creepy, leading some adults to instruct their children to avoid the suburban home.

Now, a criminal profiler who pegged the serial killer as an ‘average Joe’ back in 2011 says it is ‘gratifying’ to see he was spot-on.

Police, FBI and Crime Lab officials take what looks like toys and stuffed animals from Rex Heuermann's home in Massapequa Park, Long Island, on Sunday

Police, FBI and Crime Lab officials take what looks like toys and stuffed animals from Rex Heuermann’s home in Massapequa Park, Long Island, on Sunday

The army of forensic investigators will continue to comb through Heuermann's home in hopes of finding further evidence in the serial murder case that stumped them for over a decade.

The army of forensic investigators will continue to comb through Heuermann’s home in hopes of finding further evidence in the serial murder case that stumped them for over a decade.

Cops take evidence from Heuermann's ramshackle home where he has lived since the 1980s

Cops take evidence from Heuermann’s ramshackle home where he has lived since the 1980s

Heuermann's home is just a 25-minute drive from where the bodies were found

Heuermann’s home is just a 25-minute drive from where the bodies were found

Police earlier in the day removed  weapons from suspected Gilgo Beach serial killer's property

Police earlier in the day removed  weapons from suspected Gilgo Beach serial killer’s property

‘When I heard the news yesterday, I sort of had to smile to myself because it was pretty much what I had predicted,’ Scott Bonn, a criminologist, author and serial-killer researcher who has spoken about the Gilgo Beach killings, said.

He predicted back in 2011 — when the investigation into a possible serial killer began — that the killer would be ‘someone who can walk into a room and seem like your average Joe.’

Bonn added that the man would be well-organized and careful about his work.

Additionally, he said, the killer was ‘persuasive enough and rational enough’ to convince his victims to met him on his terms.

‘Who is more organized, who is more meticulous than someone who studied engineering and architecture?’ 

An officer was seen removing two addition firearms from the home on Sunday

An officer was seen removing two addition firearms from the home on Sunday 

Officers combing through the property loaded several blue plastic containers with weapons into them into a waiting truck

Officers combing through the property loaded several blue plastic containers with weapons into them into a waiting truck

The removal of the firearms comes days after it was revealed the Rex Heuermann had permits for an astonishing 92 weapons

The removal of the firearms comes days after it was revealed the Rex Heuermann had permits for an astonishing 92 weapons 

Others told the New York Times that the suspect was likely either married or in a long-term relationship, well-educated, financially secure with a steady job, owning an expensive car or truck and living near where the bodies were found.

At the time of the slayings, police have said, Heuermann owned a Chevrolet Avalanche.

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

He added that they tend to be extremely careful not to leave behind any evidence.

Scott Bonn, a criminologist, author and serial-killer researcher who has spoken about the Gilgo Beach killings, predicted the serial killer was an 'average Joe'

Scott Bonn, a criminologist, author and serial-killer researcher who has spoken about the Gilgo Beach killings, predicted the serial killer was an ‘average Joe’

‘They generally have jobs and families and they kill part time,’ Fox explained. ‘It’s not their sole activity in life.’

Those who have worked with Heuermann say he was fastidious, impressing some of his clients while annoying others with his attention to detail.

‘(He is) a gem to deal with, highly knowledgeable,’ said Steve Kramberg, a property manager in Brooklyn who worked with Heuermann for 30 years. 

He described him as a ‘big goofy guy’ who was ‘a little bit on the nerdy side’, which manifested as a dedicated worker who was more than detailed in his work.

According to his website, Heuermann counted American Airlines and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection among his lucrative clients. 

But while Kramberg said his round-the-clock availability and attention to specifics was a bonus, others were rubbed the wrong way by his antics. 

Investigators were seen Saturday outside Heuermann's Massapequa home removing various items as they try to see if he left behind any 'trophies' from his alleged victims

Investigators were seen Saturday outside Heuermann’s Massapequa home removing various items as they try to see if he left behind any ‘trophies’ from his alleged victims

New York State police are pictured loading a truck with items from Heuermann's suburban home on Saturday

New York State police are pictured loading a truck with items from Heuermann’s suburban home on Saturday

Investigators filled blue bins full of items from the house before they loaded them into a truck

Investigators filled blue bins full of items from the house before they loaded them into a truck

One item that the police carried out was so large it needed two men to carry it

One item that the police carried out was so large it needed two men to carry it

New York State police officers move a metal cabinet outside of the home

New York State police officers move a metal cabinet outside of the home

The suspect's house sits directly north of Gilgo Beach across the South Oyster Bay

The suspect’s house sits directly north of Gilgo Beach across the South Oyster Bay  

Paul Tietelbaun, a former president of a building’s board that hired Heuermann for renovations, said he exhibited an attitude of: ‘I’m the expert, you’re lucky to have me.’ 

‘(He was) a really kind of cold and distant person, kind of creepy,’ he added. 

Another member of the board, Kelly Parisi, echoed this as she recalled how the building’s managers eventually fired Heuermann because he was ‘overly fastidious’ and ‘adversarial with everyone.’ 

But neighbors saw him differently, with Nicholas Ferchaw saying that when he was a kid ‘we would cross the street,’ calling Heuermann ‘somebody you don’t want to approach.’ 

Others told DailyMail.com they weren’t surprised when they found out about Heuermann’s alleged crimes.

Mike Schmidt, who has lived in the Massapequa Park neighborhood for a decade, said he often visits his friend whose property backs onto Heuermann’s.

He said when they drink beers in the backyard, they would look at the home and remark: ‘He probably has bodies there.’ 

Schmidt recalled that while children often avoid the creepy home on Halloween, last year he and his friend took their kids to the home – purely to satisfy their curiosity and take a look inside. 

A crime laboratory officer removed evidence in a small envelope from Heuermann's home

A crime laboratory officer removed evidence in a small envelope from Heuermann’s home

All of the items were packaged into blue crates and loaded onto a truck

All of the items were packaged into blue crates and loaded onto a truck

Drone footage of Heuermann's home shows police outside the one-story building

Drone footage of Heuermann’s home shows police outside the one-story building

He said they were greeted by Heuermann at the door, who surprised them by giving out full pumpkins of candy to the children. 

However, Schmidt told the Times that his wife was appalled to find out where the candy was from and made him throw it out. 

Another resident, Tara Alonzo, revealed she had a disturbing run-in with Heuermann in the Whole Foods where she works in Long Island. 

She told DailyMail.com that he stole oranges from the store’s kid’s club, where parents leave their children while they shop. When he was confronted by staff, she says he responded: ‘If I was wearing a suit like I wear most days, you wouldn’t be talking to me like this.’

She said he then strolled out of the store with five or six oranges in his hands, leaving the staff perplexed by the ‘weird’ customer.

Rex Heuermann is shown in one of his Tinder profile pictures. Police tracked the fictitious email account he used on the profile and his burner phone number to the case

Rex Heuermann is shown in one of his Tinder profile pictures. Police tracked the fictitious email account he used on the profile and his burner phone number to the case

Heuermann's yearbook photo

Heuermann was arrested last night outside his office in Midtown Manhattan

Heuermann’s yearbook photo 

Cops have released a laundry list of ‘red flags’ that they say led them to Heuermann as a suspect, with the first piece of evidence being a Chevrolet Avalanche owned by him and linked to the murder of Costello by a witness.

According to documents filed in Suffolk County court, investigators were then able to link that car to Heuermann’s cellphone records, which tied him to locations related to the murders, which eventually led to a DNA sample.

Cops say that Heuermann used Melissa Barthelemy’s phone to make taunting phone calls to her family from the victim’s phone, calls that were made steps from his swanky Manhattan office.

Following the identification of Heuermann as the owner of the Chevrolet, cops issued over 300 subpoenas, search warrants and other legal processes to obtain further evidence.

After the decade-long hunt for the killer seemingly ended this week, dramatic aerial footage revealed forensic searches of his property were being carried out as authorities continue to try and link him to more unsolved homicides.


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