MASSAPEQUA PARK, Nassau County (WABC) -- The arrest of 59-year-old old Rex Heuermann in the murders at Gilgo Beach shocked neighbors in Massapequa Park.
They woke up to news and published reports just after 6 a.m. Friday that he was in police custody.
"I don't know him, but I got a text this morning at 6:15 that they found the suspect for the murders," said Richard Harmon, a neighbor.
Heuermann lived at 105 First Ave. in Massapequa Park and is an architect and a married father of two adult children. His wife was spotted arriving at Suffolk County Court in Riverhead just before noon on Friday.
He had been taken into custody Thursday night near his office in Midtown Manhattan, brought to Yaphank, and entered court in handcuffs, wearing a short-sleeved grey shirt. He was charged with first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of three women found in December 2010. He pleaded not guilty.
ALSO WATCH | Exclusive video of Rex Heuermann's arrest
He is charged in the murders of Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Costello, whose bodies were found covered in burlap along Ocean Parkway on Long Island's South Shore, according to an indictment unsealed Friday in Suffolk County Criminal Court.
They are linked to the deaths of a fourth woman, Maureen Brainard-Barnes. While Heuermann is not charged in that death, the indictment said he is the "prime suspect in her death."
Heuermann used one of his burner phones "to conduct thousands of searches related to sex workers, sadistic, torture-related pornography and child pornography," court records said.
Other searches were "related to active and known serial killers," and the disappearances of the Gilgo Beach victims:
"Why hasn't the Long Island serial killer been caught," one search said according to court records.
Heuermann also searched for and viewed articles about the police and FBI task force investigating him.
One email account revealed a selfie Heuermann apparently took and "sent to other persons to solicit and arrange for sexual activity," court records said.
DNA from a pizza crust thrown out by Heuermann was linked to a male hair found on one of the victims. The analysis found that "mitochondrial DNA profile(s) are the same" between both samples.
Cell calls were traced to areas around his home on Long Island and office in Manhattan. Heuermann was first eyed in the cases in March 2022. At the time, he was connected to a pickup truck a witness had seen where a victim disappeared in 2010.
The suspect is apparently the president and owner of an architecture firm in Manhattan, which he founded in 1994. His website lists major clients like Target and Nike.
Heuermann was featured in a February 2022 interview, talking about his work and thoughts about what it takes to deal with NYC DOB rules and regulations. Antoine Amira from BONJOUR REALTY, a NYC channel, posted the video on YouTube.
Heurermann attended Berner High School and graduated in 1981.
Harmon said his daughter said the man had a troubled past in school. She said, "I went to school with him, we rode the bus together, if it was that person he was a drug addict in high school," Harmon went on to say, "It's a shocker, it's a real eye-opener. 21 years, this is the worst case I've ever seen."
Also a former classmate is actor Billy Baldwin who tweeted about the arrest.
"It's definitely something that it breaks you up," Harmon said.
Harmon wasn't the only one thinking about the victims. Some thought this day would never come.
"For a while no, only recently, I want to give a shout-out to Rodney Harrison our police commissioner, he's really doing a great job, releasing the Megan Waterman information, the Shannan Gilbert call," said Michael McManus, a podcaster of "Movies by McManus" and a citizen investigator. "I'm happy for the families, shocked, but I guess we have to see how it plays out."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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