The wife of Gilgo Beach serial killings suspect Rex Heuermann and her attorney told CNN she had “no idea” about her husband’s alleged actions and the flood of public attention has been “extremely overwhelming” for the mother and her two children.
The days since Heuermann’s arrest have been “chaotic” for his wife, Asa Ellerup, and the couple’s children, as investigators have scoured every crevice of the family’s New York home and the property has been swarmed by media and curious onlookers, Ellerup’s attorney, Bob Macedonio, said on “CNN Primetime” on Monday night.
Ellerup doesn’t have a bed to sleep in, she told the New York Post on Monday. “My children cry themselves to sleep,” she said.
“I had three cats. Litter boxes were … [strewn about], thrown on top of everything. My pictures were thrown all over the place,” Ellerup told the Post. “My couch was completely shredded.”
Suffolk County Sheriffís Office/Getty Images
Rex Heuermann poses for his booking photo on July 14, 2023.
Heuermann is expected in court Tuesday for his first hearing since his initial court appearance. The hearing comes three weeks after he was arrested and charged with murder in the killings of three of the “Gilgo Four,” a group of women whose remains were found along a short stretch of Long Island’s Gilgo Beach in 2010.
He has pleaded not guilty in the killings of Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Lynn Costello. “I did not do this,” his court appointed-attorney, Michael Brown, said Heuermann told him.
Heuermann, 59, is also the prime suspect in the disappearance and killing of the fourth victim, according to a bail application from prosecutors, but has yet to be charged in that case.
Since then, Ellerup has filed for divorce from Heuermann – to whom she has been married for 27 years – and returned to the family’s home, which her attorney said has been “torn up” by investigators.
Investigators uncovered “quite a lot of evidence” as they spent more than a week poring over the suspect’s home, Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney has said. In addition to collecting a “massive amount of material” – including about 279 weapons – they also used a backhoe and ground-penetrating radar to search the yard, he said.
The family is still taking stock of what items have been taken by investigators, Macedonio said.
“Everything in the house was turned upside down,” he added. “Dresser drawers were emptied out. The bathroom tub – which was a vinyl tub – was actually cut open. The floors were ripped up. The couches and the mattresses have been removed.”
courtesy Robert Macedonio
A bathtub at Rex Heuermann’s home was cut open by investigators, attorney Bob Macedonio said.
Due to piles of debris left by authorities, the family “barely had any walking space to get into the house,” Macedonio told CNN’s Laura Coates.
“We did get another chair out from the basement and upstairs so me and my son can sit and talk. He’s so distraught and doesn’t understand, and as a mother, I have no answers for him,” Ellerup told the Post.
“But I said, ‘We’re together. That’s really what matters right now. That you and me are sitting here together and we will get through this.’”
CNN has reached out to the Suffolk County Police Department and New York State Police for comment.
Authorities have said Ellerup and the children were out of town when the killings occurred.
Now, Ellerup is requesting privacy as the family grapples with their new reality.
“I am pleading with you all to give us space so that we may regain some normalcy in our neighborhood,” the wife said in a statement to CNN.
courtesy Robert Macedonio
Boxes and other items are seen piled up inside Rex Heuermann’s home.
The spotlight on the family has attracted onlookers who show up at the home “just to get a glimpse of what’s going on at the house,” Macedonio said.
Ellerup has been in touch with Heuermann since his arrest, the attorney said, though he did not provide further details.
The wife and children have also received support, Macedonio said, including from the daughter of serial killer Keith Hunter Jesperson, the so-called “Happy Face Killer.”
“It’s been extremely overwhelming for her and the children trying to piece life back together to what it was two and a half weeks ago,” Macedonio said. “I don’t know if they’re ever going to return to normalcy, but day by day she’s getting better.”
Authorities are “actively investigating” whether Heuermann may have had more alleged victims, Suffolk County Deputy Police Commissioner Anthony Carter previously told CNN.
Investigators have looked into properties Heuermann owns in South Carolina and Nevada.
“I don’t think any of us ever anticipated going that far and looking at any missing persons or any murders that may have occurred along the Eastern Seaboard,” Suffolk County Sheriff Errol D. Toulon Jr. said.
Though authorities had been looking into a possible link between Heuermann and the 2006 unsolved killings of four sex workers near Atlantic City, New Jersey, Suffolk County police said Monday that they now believe Heuermann is not connected to those cases.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Rex Heuermann’s last name in the headline.