Gilgo Beach serial slayings investigators probe woods 50 miles away, report says

NEW YORK — Detectives investigating Long Island’s Gilgo Beach serial slayings have launched a painstaking search in a thatch of woods nearly 50 miles from where the victims’ bodies were discovered, according to reports.

The search, which is being conducted off the Long Island Expressway near Exit 70 in Manorville, is part of the Gilgo Beach investigation, law enforcement sources told ABC Eyewitness News. The search of the woods began Tuesday and continued Wednesday.

The Suffolk County District Attorney’s office said the search was part of an “ongoing investigation.”

“We do not comment on investigative steps while they are underway,” a spokesman for the district attorney’s office said. “We will make further statements when appropriate."

Accused serial killer Rex Heuermann, 59, was charged in July with the murders of three young sex workers, Megan Waterman, Melissa Barthelemy and Amber Costello. This January he was charged with the murder of a fourth victim, Maureen Brainard-Barnes.

Their bodies were found in December 2010 within one-quarter mile of each other, dumped along Gilgo Beach.

Authorities have been trying to determine whether Heuermann has any connection to six other victims found at Gilgo Beach: Four women, an Asian man dressed as a woman and a child.

Heuermann has pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him.

On April 17, the hulking Heuermann appeared in Suffolk County court as the team prosecuting him shared with his lawyers lab reports and disclosures focused on 388 leads detectives were investigating.

The material includes 6,000 pages of various background checks and thousands of pages on persons of interest and missing persons investigations.

Despite the reams of information, Heuermann’s attorneys said they have not received all the evidence they are entitled to.

Heuermann’s attorney, Michael Brown, said the defense team requested information from prosecutors related to an earlier investigation of another potential suspect. Prosecutors turned over these documents that morning.

As for Heuermann’s state of mind, Brown said his client is eager to get to trial.

“You have to remember he’s not with the general population. He’s isolated in one jail cell. He has no interaction with any other inmates,” Brown said.

“I see him as frequently as once a week. He wants to get to a trial. He maintained from the beginning of this case, and still maintains today, he is not the guy. He said that over and over.”