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Suspect in Gilgo Beach murders faces trial as prosecutors speak of ‘significant progress’ in case

Prosecutors will announce a “significant development” on Thursday in the case of a New York architect accused of killing four women and leaving their bodies scattered in bushland along a coastal road.

Rex Heuermann, 60, will appear in court days after police completed new, extensive searches his house in Massapequa Park and a Forest area on Long Island in connection with the investigation of a series of deaths known as the Gilgo Beach serial murders.

Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney has not announced what developments he plans to announce or explained the purpose of Thursday's court hearing.

Since the end of 2010 have investigated the deaths of at least 10 people – mostly sex workers – whose remains were discovered on a remote country road not far from Gilgo Beach on the south shore of Long Island.

The victims had disappeared over a period of at least 14 years. Angry police have made slow progress in identifying possible suspects. Investigators have long said it was likely that not all of the deaths were the work of the same killer. Some of the victims disappeared in the mid-1990s. Investigators concluded that an 11th person who disappeared from the barrier island of Oak Beach in 2010 drowned accidentally.

Heuermann, who lived across a bay from where the bodies were found, was arrested last July. Prosecutors said a new investigative team had used cellphone location data and DNA samples to link the architect to some of the victims. He was accused of Killing of four of the women: Megan Waterman, Melissa Barthelemy, Amber Lynn Costello and Maureen Brainard-Barnes.

The investigators, who had extensively searched Heuermann's house last summer and dug up his garden, returned to the house again last month and spent almost one week They searched it again. According to a lawyer for Heumann's wife, they focused their efforts mainly on the basement.

This followed a search in April after a Woodland in Manorvilleabout 65 kilometers east of Heuermann's house, and is connected to two other victims from Gilgo Beach.

Valerie Mack, 24, who had worked as an escort in Philadelphia, disappeared in 2000 and was last seen by her family in Port Republic, New Jersey. Some of her skeletal remains were discovered in the woods of Manorville that same year. More of her remains were found during searches around Gilgo Beach in 2011.

Mack’s remains, originally known as “Jane Doe No. 6,” were unknown for years until genetic testing revealed her identity in 2020.

Jessica Taylor, 20, disappeared in 2003 while working as an escort in New York City. Some of her remains were discovered in Manorville that year. Additional remains were found in 2011 during a search of beach brush along the edge of Ocean Parkway, the road where the other Gilgo Beach victims were found.

Relatives of Mack and Taylor declined to comment Wednesday.

Heuermann's lawyer and the lawyers representing his wife and two adult children each declined to comment.

Heuermann, who has been in custody since his arrest, has pleaded not guilty. He is scheduled to appear in court for a status hearing on June 18. A trial date has not yet been set.

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Follow Philip Marcelo on twitter.com/philmarcelo.