Gilgo Beach murder suspect charged in deaths of 2 more women

SUFFOLK COUNTY, N.Y. — Authorities on Thursday filed new charges against accused Gilgo Beach serial killer Rex Heuermann, linking him to the murders of two more women killed in 1993 and 2003.

A grand jury indicted Heuermann on second-degree murder charges in the July 2003 death of Jessica Taylor and the November 1993 death of Sandra Costilla.

Warning: This story contains graphic details of a violent crime. Reader discretion is advised.

Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney said part of Taylor’s body was found days after her mother last spoke with her in July 2003. She had been decapitated, with her arms severed just below her elbows. Tierney said she had a tattoo that “had been obliterated with a sharp object.” It wasn’t until eight years later that authorities found the rest of her remains, he said.

Like several of Heuermann’s other alleged victims, Taylor was a sex worker at the time of her disappearance, and authorities determined that his family was out of town at the time she was killed. Family members reported Taylor missing on July 25, 2003, after she failed to turn up at a birthday celebration for her mother.

At a news conference on Thursday, her mother, Elizabeth Baczkiel, described her daughter in a statement read by attorney Gloria Allred as “loving and compassionate and so funny.”

“She loved to make people laugh. She could always make people laugh,” she said.

Authorities linked Heuermann to Taylor’s death by a Chevrolet Avalanche that he had at the time, which matched the description of a truck seen in the area by witnesses, and through a hair recovered from the crime scene. Mitochondrial and nuclear DNA testing matched the hair, which was taken into evidence in 2003, to Heuermann, Tierney said.

Her death came 20 years after hunters found Costilla’s body with her arms stretched overhead, her legs uncovered and her shirt pressed over her head. Tierney said she had suffered more than two dozen “sharp-force injuries” which investigators believe were inflicted after her death.

Three hairs were recovered from her body, including one that was matched in 2023 and 2024 to Heuermann. One of the other hairs was matched to a woman who lived with Heuermann before Costilla’s death, while the other was from a woman whose identity remains unknown.

In court records obtained by Newsday, authorities said Costilla was a native of Trinidad and Tobago but had been living in New York before her disappearance.

Investigators continue to sort through a slew of digital evidence collected from Heuermann, including nearly 650 CDs, floppy discs or VHS tapes, 80 internal and external hard drives, 46 cellphones, 44 SD micro-cards, 42 USB devices and more.

“Heuermann had a significant collection of violent bondage and torture pornography which was dating back to 1994, and that material was very similar to the condition that the two latest victims were left in,” he said Thursday.

While digging through the records, Tierney said investigators found an apparent “planning document” that Heuermann attempted to delete from one of the laptops. He said task force members believe that “it was utilized by Heuermann to methodically blueprint and plan out his kills with excruciating detail.”

“We allege that this document evinces the defendant’s attempt in committing the charged crimes — that his intent was specifically to locate these victims, to hunt them down and to bring them under his control and to kill them,” Tierney said.

“His motivations, meticulous planning and clear intent is obvious. His intent was nothing short but to murder these victims.”

Authorities continue to investigate his possible links to other deaths, including the 2000 death of Valeria Mack. In court records, investigators noted that the planning document found on Heuermann’s laptop appeared to reference Mack’s remains, which were found in two locations in 2000 and 2011, and Taylor’s remains.

In addition to the deaths of Taylor and Costilla, Heuermann faces first- and second-degree murder charges in the deaths of the “Gilgo Four”: Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman, Amber Costello and Maureen Brainard-Barnes. The remains of the women, who were killed between 2007 and 2010, were discovered within a quarter-mile of one another in December 2010.

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