The Manhattan Architect’s Divorce in the Wake of Gilgo Beach Murders

The Manhattan architect’s putative ex-wife has filed for divorce nearly a week after his arrest in connection with the Gilgo Beach serial killings. The divorce papers were filed on Wednesday in Suffolk County Supreme Court and state that the divorce will be “uncontested.” Asa Ellerup v. Rex Heuermann is the formal name of this case.

This new information follows Heuermann’s arrest on July 13 for three of the ten victims tied to the murders in Gilgo Beach, New York. Defense counsel Michael Brown released a statement shortly after the arrest, in which he called Heuermann a “loving husband” and noted that Heuermann and Ellerup had been married for over 25 years.

On Wednesday, Ellerup’s lawyer told ABC News that her client had no more comment. Court documents unsealed last week in Suffolk County Criminal Court charged Heuermann, 59, with the murders of Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman, and Amber Costello, whose bodies were found wrapped in burlap along Ocean Parkway on Long Island’s South Shore in December 2010.

Gilgo Beach murder suspect’s wife files for divorce, verified via court filing. For confirmation, check the tweet:

Costello was last seen in September of 2010, Barthelemy in July of 2009, and Waterman in June of 2010. According to the court documents, the three ladies were all s*x workers and ranged in age from 22 to 27. Maureen Brainard-Barnes, a fourth victim, went missing in July 2007 and was connected to the other three.

Court documents label Heuermann the “prime suspect in her death,” despite the fact that he has not been formally charged in connection with Brainard-Barnes’s murder. Officials indicated last week that they are still looking into what caused Brainard-Barnes’ death. “Each of the four victims were found similarly positioned, bound in a similar fashion by either belts or tape,” court documents stated.

According to the evidence presented in court, a female hair was found on the belt that was used to bind Brainard-Barnes’ legs together, two female hairs were located on Waterman (one on the tape used to bind her body), and one female hair was found on the tape that was used to bind Costello’s body.

Court records show that mitochondrial DNA testing, which was not available in 2010, confirmed that all of the hairs belonged to the same woman and were a better-than-99% match for Heuermann’s wife. According to her cellphone records, she was out of the country at the time of the murders, so police don’t suspect her involvement. However, Heuermann was the one with the hairs on his body, therefore they suspect him.

You can check the profiles and backgrounds of the victims in the Gilgo Beach Serial Homicides case in our comprehensive article:

According to court filings, mitochondrial DNA testing was performed on a single male hair found on the burlap used to wrap Waterman’s body and found a match to leftover pizza crust Heuermann thrown out in a Manhattan trash can in January. Three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of second-degree murder have been filed against Heuermann.

At Friday’s arraignment, Heuermann’s defense counsel Michael Brown pleaded not guilty on his behalf. According to the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, jailed s*x workers have been interviewed as part of the investigation into the suspect. Officials have indicated that investigators have been speaking with the s*x workers to get a fuller picture of Heuermann’s movements and methods.

The interviews are now only conducted with s*x workers incarcerated in Suffolk County, although this may change in the future. Since his arrest, Heuermann’s case has been investigated in more places than just New York alone. Heuermann owned a timeshare in Las Vegas, and on Tuesday, Nevada authorities said they were looking into any possible ties between the accused serial killer and the city.

“We are currently reviewing our unsolved cases to see if he has any involvement,” the Las Vegas Metro Police Department stated in a statement on Tuesday. As with previous s*x worker investigations, authorities said they are looking into any possible ties to Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Heuermann owns four empty lots in Chester, South Carolina, where police this week confiscated a green Chevrolet Avalanche from the first generation. On Wednesday, the car was delivered to the Suffolk County crime lab. Police said they earlier seized a second black Avalanche from Heuermann’s Massapequa Park residence.

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Heuermann is suspected by Suffolk County police to have owned the green Avalanche at the time of the Gilgo Beach killings, before gifting it to a relative in 2014 or 2015. After a witness who knew Costello informed police he had spotted a Chevrolet Avalanche at her house just before she vanished, the car became a crucial piece of evidence in the case.

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