Julia Ann Bean vanished on May 31, 2017, according to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. Her daughter reported her missing on November 18 of that year.
Recently, on August 20, a tipster “claiming to be a friend” of Bean met with a Sumter County Sheriff’s Office investigator, claiming “they believed there may be a connection between Bean and murder suspect Rex Heuermann,” the agency said in a statement.
The information the person provided authorities was third-hand and passed off to detectives investigating Bean’s disappearance. The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation, sharing the information with the agency. Officials said the individual who provided the tip regarding the accused Long Island serial killer isn’t local to Sumter County.
Authorities also said they notified Bean’s daughter, who was “very cooperative and eager” to assist investigators. She told detectives she recalled “someone she saw with her mother” around the time of her disappearance, who “could possibly be Heuermann.”
Photo: Sumter County Sheriff's Office (Sumter, SC)/Facebook
According to Bean’s daughter, she specifically recalled her mother with a man who was driving a dark truck, Sumter County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Mark Bordeaux told WLTX.
“Someone that may have been, appeared, may have looked like Mr. Heuermann was with her mother and a vehicle may have been similar,” Bordeaux said.
In July, New York authorities seized a black Chevy Avalanche pickup truck from Heuermann’s property in Chester, S.C., People reported. The property is roughly a 90-minute drive from Sumter.
Bean’s case remains open and ongoing. Officials haven’t yet confirmed or disproved the possible ties to Heuermann.
“Sumter County Sheriff’s Office investigators have been [poring] over the information they have recently received to determine if there is any evidence linking Bean with Heuermann,” the agency said in a statement on August 29. “Yet there are no confirmed facts that confirm or deny the possibility of a connection.”
Photo: Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office via AP
A spokesperson for the FBI told Oxygen.com on Thursday that the agency was aware of reports of a possible link between Heuermann and Bean's disappearance, however, the agency refused to confirm whether they were actively investigating the case.
"The FBI is aware of reports that have been made to local law enforcement concerning Bean’s disappearance," spokesperson Kevin Wheeler said in an emailed statement. "As per Department of Justice guidelines, we cannot confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation."
Huermann was arrested in July and charged with six counts of murder in the deaths of Melissa Barthelemy, 24, Megan Waterman, 22, and Amber Lynn Costello, 27, whose bodies were found along Long Island’s South Shore in 2010. The victims were all sex workers who operated on Craigslist and other websites, according to law enforcement. Huermann is also the main suspect in the murder of Maureen Brainard-Barnes.
He appeared in Suffolk County court on August 1, his second court appearance since his arrest earlier this summer, and remains in custody without bail.
Bean is described as a white woman who weighs between 110 and 120 pounds and is five-foot-six inches. She would be 41 today. Anyone with additional information pertaining to Bean’s case is urged to contact the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office at 803-436-2000.