Frightened locals have shared a chilling glimpse into the world of accused serial killer Rex Heuermann. Its creepy reputation led a neighbor to recall jokingly saying his spooky, run-down house was full of dead bodies.
The Manhattan architect appears to have lived a nightmarish double life, as those who knew him often give ambiguous descriptions of a meticulous Manhattan architect who defied his job by living in a “dungeon”-like house.
Local residents say the 59-year-old exhibited disturbing and threatening behavior at his sleepy Massapequa Park gated community, prompting neighborhood uproar and prompting some to order their children to avoid his home.
“We would cross the street,” Nicholas Ferchaw, 24, told the New York Times. “He was someone you don’t want to get close to.”
Heuermann remains in custody in New York and faces charges of triple first-degree murder as investigators continue to try to link him to the notorious Gilgo Beach serial killer.
Manhattan architect Rex Heuermann, 59, is charged with three murders attributed to the Gilgo Beach serial killer and is the prime suspect in the murder of a fourth victim
Nicholas Ferchaw (pictured) said the alleged killer had been so scary in the neighborhood that people would “walk across the street”.
While those who lived near Heuermann describe him as a cold, creepy individual who dressed shabbily, others who met him as Manhattan architects told a very different story.
“[He’s]a gem to deal with, extremely competent,” said Steve Kramberg, a Brooklyn real estate manager who has worked with Heuermann for 30 years.
He described him as a “big goofy dude” who was “a bit nerdy,” which manifested as a dedicated worker who was more than detailed in his work.
According to its website, Heuermann counted American Airlines and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection among its lucrative clients.
But while Kramberg said his 24/7 availability and attention to detail were a bonus, others were irked by his antics.
Paul Tietelbaun, former president of a building authority that hired Heuermann to do renovations, said he had shown the attitude: “I’m the expert, you’re lucky to have me.”
“[He was]a really cold and distant person, kind of creepy,” he added.
Another board member, Kelly Parisi, echoed this as she recalled how building managers eventually fired Heuermann for being “overly picky” and “hostile to everyone.”
However, this image of a high-spirited, lumbering hired man differs from the man known to his neighbors, who portray him as a troubled loner.
After hearing the news of his arrest, Ferchaw said he was “not surprised at all … because of all the creepiness.”
He added an eerie encounter with Heuermann, where he went to greet the architect on the street while he was cutting wood. He said the 59-year-old responded with silence and continued chopping wood while staring at him.
Those who knew Heuermann have given mixed descriptions, with some seeing him as a successful but lumbering Manhattan architect, while others saw him as a sinister loner
The gap between Heuermann’s life in Manhattan and his time on Long Island was noticed by neighbors shortly after his arrest, when dozens of people flocked to get a glimpse of his home.
Locals told DailyMail.com they felt they were “living in a true crime documentary” as details of the alleged killer’s secret crimes emerged.
“He was an architect, but his house looks like a dungeon,” said Bonni Petrone, 57, whose sister graduated from Heuermann in the small town.
Heuermann’s home, where he has lived since he was a child, was considered a spooky, run-down property by those in the area, with one resident saying it even raised concerns.
Rex Heuermann can be seen in one of his Tinder profile pictures. Police have traced the fictional email account he used in the profile and his burner’s phone number to the case
Mike Schmidt, who has lived in the Massapequa Park neighborhood for a decade, said he often visits his friend, whose property borders Heuermann’s property.
He said when they drank beer in the backyard, they’d look at the house and remark, “He probably has dead bodies in there.”
Schmidt recalled that kids often avoid the spooky home on Halloween, but last year he and his friend took their kids there — just to satisfy their curiosity and peek inside.
He said they were greeted at the door by Heuermann, who surprised them by handing out full pumpkins full of candy to the children.
However, Schmidt told the Times that his wife was horrified when she found out where the candy came from and forced him to throw it away.
Another resident, Tara Alonzo, revealed that she had a disturbing encounter with Heuermann at Whole Foods, where she works on Long Island.
She told DailyMail.com that he stole oranges from the store’s kids’ club, where parents leave their children to shop. When confronted about it by staff, she said he replied, “If I were wearing a suit like I wear most days, you wouldn’t be talking to me like that.”
She said he then sauntered out of the store with five or six oranges in hand, leaving staff confused at the “odd” customer.
The suspect’s home is just north of Gilgo Beach across from South Oyster Bay
Forensic teams are working at Heuermann’s house on Friday. Among the items confiscated was a freezer
Heuermann remains in custody and faces charges of first and second degree murder in connection with the deaths of three victims, Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Costello. Authorities say he is also the “prime suspect” in another murder.
Police have released a long list of “red flags” that they say have led them to Heuermann as a suspect. The first piece of evidence is a Chevrolet Avalanche that he owned and which a witness linked to the murder of Costello.
According to documents filed with the Suffolk County Court, investigators were then able to link that car to Heuermann’s cellphone records, which linked him to locations linked to the murders, eventually leading to a DNA sample.
Police say Heuermann used Melissa Barthelemy’s phone to make taunting calls to her family from the victim’s phone, calls made just steps from his swanky Manhattan office.
After Heuermann was identified as the owner of the Chevrolet, police officers issued over 300 subpoenas, search warrants and other legal actions to obtain more evidence.
After the decades-long hunt for the killer appeared to have ended this week, dramatic aerial footage showed forensic searches of his property were being conducted as authorities continue to try to link him to more unsolved murders.
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