Wife of Gilgo Beach murder suspect files for divorce, court filing shows

The filing indicates the divorce will be "uncontested."

July 19, 2023, 7:40 PM

The wife of alleged Gilgo Beach serial killer Rex Heuermann has filed for divorce nearly a week after the Manhattan architect was arrested in the case, according to a new court filing.

The filing in Suffolk County Supreme Court is dated Wednesday and indicates the divorce will be "uncontested." The case caption is Asa Ellerup v. Rex Heuermann.

The development comes in the wake of Heuermann's arrest on July 13 in connection with three of the 10 victims linked to the Gilgo Beach, New York, murders.

In a statement shortly after the arrest, defense attorney Michael Brown referred to Heuermann as a "loving husband" and said he and Ellerup had been married more than 25 years.

Ellerup has no comment at this time, her attorney told ABC News on Wednesday.

In this handout provided by the Suffolk County Sheriff's Office, Rex Heuermann poses for his booking photo on July 14, 2023.
Suffolk County Sheriff's Office/Getty Images

Heuermann, 59, a father of two, was charged with the murders of Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Costello, whose bodies were found covered in burlap along Ocean Parkway on Long Island's South Shore in December 2010, according to court records unsealed last week in Suffolk County Criminal Court.

Barthelemy disappeared in July 2009, Waterman disappeared in June 2010 and Costello was last seen in September 2010. The three women were between 22 and 27 years old and all worked as sex workers, court records said.

A fourth victim, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, who vanished in July 2007, was also tied to the three women. While Heuermann is not charged in the death of Brainard-Barnes, the court documents said he is the "prime suspect in her death." The investigation into Brainard-Barnes' death is ongoing, officials said last week.

"Each of the four victims were found similarly positioned, bound in a similar fashion by either belts or tape," court documents stated.

A female hair was discovered on a belt used to tie Brainard-Barnes' legs together, while two female hairs were discovered on Waterman -- one on the tape used to bind her body -- and one female hair was found on a piece of tape used to bind Costello's body, according to court documents.

By using mitochondrial DNA testing not available in 2010, all of the hairs were determined to be from the same woman -- with more than a 99% match for Heuermann's wife, according to court documents. Police don't believe she was involved, as she was out of the country when the killings occurred, according to cellphone records noted in the court records, but that Heuermann had the hairs on his body.

Crime laboratory officers search the home of Gilgo Beach murders suspect Rex Heuermann in Massapequa Park, New York, on July 18, 2023.
Yuki Iwamura/AFP via Getty Images

Mitochondrial DNA testing was also done on a single male hair found on the burlap used to wrap Waterman's body, which was found to be a match to leftover pizza crust Heuermann threw into a Manhattan garbage can in January, according to court documents.

Heuermann is charged with three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of second-degree murder.

Defense attorney Michael Brown entered a not guilty plea on Heuermann's behalf at his arraignment on Friday.

The investigation into the suspect includes interviews with incarcerated sex workers, according to the Suffolk County Sheriff's Department. Investigators have been talking to the sex workers about possible interactions with Heuermann, as authorities work to develop a more complete picture of his movements and methods, officials said. For the moment, these interviews are limited to sex workers jailed in Suffolk County but could expand to neighboring counties and beyond.

Investigations into Heuermann have also expanded beyond New York state since his arrest.

Authorities in Nevada said Tuesday they are investigating a connection between the accused serial killer and Las Vegas, where Heuermann had a timeshare.

"We are currently reviewing our unsolved cases to see if he has any involvement," the Las Vegas Metro Police Department said in a statement Tuesday.

Authorities also said they are looking at possible ties to Atlantic City, New Jersey, where past investigations involving sex workers have led.

A first-generation green Chevrolet Avalanche linked to the suspect was seized this week in Chester, South Carolina, where Heuermann owns four vacant lots, police said. The vehicle arrived Wednesday at the Suffolk County crime lab for processing.

A second, black Avalanche was previously seized at Heuermann's home in Massapequa Park, police said.

Suffolk County police said Heuermann is believed to have had the green Avalanche at the time of the Gilgo Beach murders before giving it to a family member in 2014 or 2015.

The vehicle became a key piece of evidence after a person who knew Costello told police he had seen a Chevrolet Avalanche at her home prior to her disappearance, according to court records.

ABC News' Victor Ordonez and Mark Osborne contributed to this report.

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