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Gilgo Serial Killer Suspect Investigated for Murder of 29-Year-Old Woman Found Bound on Side of Highway

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Source: police handout

The neice of Carmen Vargas believes accused Gilgo killer Rex Heuermann is responsible for her aunt's brutal murder.

Sep. 5 2023, Published 7:21 p.m. ET

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An East Harlem woman believes her late aunt is an early victim of Gilgo Beach murder suspect Rex Heuermann, having contacted the Nassau District Attorney's Office before they ordered a team of detectives to investigate the years-long cold case.

"I believe he did it when he first started killing," said Felicita Figueroa in an explosive new interview.

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rex heuermann murder rex consultants
Source: MEGA

Heuermann pleaded not guilty to the murders of Megan Waterman, Amber Lynn Costello, and Melissa Barthelemy July 14.

The Manhattan architect and father-of-two has been charged with the murders of three women found dead in late 2010: Megan Water, 22, Melissa Barthelemy, 24, and Amber Lynn Costello, 27.

Heuermann is also the prime suspect in the murder of Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 25.

As for Figueroa's aunt Carmen Vargas, the 29-year-old was tragically found dead at the side of the road in Freeport, New York, on September 11, 1989. She wouldn't be identified for three years.

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rex heuermann police handout
Source: police handout

He had already pled not guilty to Barthelemy, Waterman, and Costello's killings.

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Vargas' dental records ultimately confirmed that it was her they'd found.

Her legs were bound at the ankles with a cord and she had a towel over her face and a rope tied around her neck.

Her aunt's wrists were bound and she was also missing three teeth, according to Figueroa. She was petite in size and stature, similar to the victims of Heuermann.

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carmen vargas
Source: police handout

Vargas was only 29 when she vanished.

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Long Island Serial Killer
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The woman now believes the Gilgo Beach suspect is responsible for Vargas' death after spending decades under the impression serial killer Joel Rifkin was the murderer.

"Joel Rifkin said, 'That's not me. That's not my work,'" said Figueroa in an interview with The U.S. Sun. "We really thought it was him but we eventually let it go."

She further explained, "He would've accepted the credit, he admitted to killing 17 women. He admitted to each and every one of them."

Striking similarities in the cases Heuermann is being charged for have led her to speculate he is the true culprit.

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The suspect was hit with six-figure tax liens before he was linked to the Gilgo Beach murders, RadarOnline.com exclusively learned in July amid developments in the cases.

Figueroa was the last person to see her aunt alive in 1989, revealing she recalled Vargas getting into a dark car but was only 12 years old at the time and couldn't quite see.

The location where Vargas was found is roughly 8 miles from the residence where Heuermann was raised and where his family still lives.

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rex heuermann mugshot
Source: MEGA

Vargas' case is being re-examined after links to the Gilgo Beach murder suspect.

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Soon after the Gilgo Beach suspect was arrested, she contacted Nassau District Attorney's Office, which ordered a team of detectives to investigate the case.

The communications director, Brendan Brosh, confirmed Vargas' case is being re-examined in a new statement.

"We're working with our law enforcement partners to review unsolved homicide cases that fit the alleged pattern of Rex Heuermann," said Brosh. "With regards to the investigation of the murder of Carmen Vargas, I'd have to refer you to the Nassau County Police Department as they are the lead agency."

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