ABC 20/20 “The Long Island Serial Killer” September 8 2023 Recap & Preview
Prepare for a gripping true crime event with ABC’s 20/20 presenting “The Long Island Serial Killer,” unveiling the shocking arrest that has become the biggest true crime story of the season.
In an all-new two-hour program, exclusive interviews are featured with the boyfriend of a missing woman, a close friend of one of the victims, and the investigators who identified Rex Heuermann as the lead suspect in three cases. The program delves into the complex investigation surrounding a series of murders on Long Island.
A Chilling Discovery in Gilgo Beach
In May 2010, the disappearance of 23-year-old Shannan Gilbert led the police to Gilgo Beach, Long Island. Instead of finding Gilbert, they discovered the remains of four other missing women who had worked as escorts: Melissa Barthelemy, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, Megan Waterman, and Amber Costello. Subsequently, six more bodies were found along Ocean Parkway.
In a bone-chilling discovery, skeletal remains were unearthed at Gilgo Beach, sending shockwaves through Long Island. This sinister revelation hinted at the presence of a serial killer lurking in the shadows, and the island was about to be gripped by one of its most notorious crime dramas.
The fear of a modern-day “Jack the Ripper” haunting Suffolk County became all too real. Little did they know that history had a way of repeating itself, as a modern-day counterpart seemed to be on the loose. The eerie similarity to the infamous London killer was unnerving.
As if the skeletal remains weren’t terrifying enough, the case took a terrifying turn when a woman began receiving haunting phone calls. The voice on the other end claimed to be watching her sister’s lifeless body.
Later, six more sets of remains were found in 2011. The investigation into these killings spanned over a decade and involved various twists and turns. This included a federal investigation into a police chief and the use of the latest forensic technology. Ultimately, the arrest of Long Island architect Rex Heuermann was made possible through DNA evidence. Heuermann has been charged with murder in the deaths of Barthelemy, Waterman, and Costello, and he pleaded not guilty in the same year.
This two-hour episode of “20/20” features exclusive interviews with individuals such as Alex Diaz, Gilbert’s boyfriend, who provides insight into the aftermath of her disappearance. Sara Karnes, one of the last people to see victim Brainard-Barnes alive and who received a taunting phone call after her disappearance, is also interviewed. Former Suffolk County law enforcement officers, Stuart Cameron, Timothy Sini, and Geraldine Hart, offer critical insights into the investigation. The program includes additional interviews with family members of the victims, key figures in the case, and legal experts. The episode aired on September 8.
Unmasking the Killer
In July 2023, The case took a major turn when a 59-year-old architect and father of two was arrested. He immediately pleaded not guilty, but his arrest sent shockwaves through his seemingly normal neighborhood.
Rex Heuermann was arrested and charged in the murders of three of “the Gilgo Four” victims: Megan Waterman, Melissa Barthelemy, and Amber Costello. He was also the prime suspect in the murder of Maureen Brainard-Barnes.
The case involved multiple bodies found in various locations, some dating back to 1996. FBI involvement was initiated in 2015, and in 2020, evidence related to the case, including a belt with the letters “HM” or “WH,” was released to the public.
Genetic genealogy was used to identify some of the unidentified victims. John Bittrolff, a convicted murderer, was considered a person of interest due to similarities between his known crimes and the Gilgo Beach murders. Rex Heuermann, an architect, was arrested in 2023 based on evidence linking him to the crimes, including DNA and online searches related to the case. Amid the chaos, an interview shed some light on the mind of a potential killer. As investigators tirelessly pieced together this intricate puzzle, they discovered that the most significant clue had been hiding in the case files for years. It was a revelation that left everyone astounded, highlighting the importance of diligence and attention to detail in solving such heinous crimes.
The Long Island serial killer case captivated the nation, and the latest developments will be unveiled on the all-new 20/20 crime event airing on Friday night at 9/8 Central on ABC. Prepare for a rollercoaster of emotions as the story unfolds, and the truth behind this chilling mystery is revealed.