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Long Island Serial Killer Evaded Capture—Thanks to 'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation' TV Show?

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Jul. 14 2023, Published 6:15 p.m. ET

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The infamous Long Island suspect Rex Heuermann was arrested and charged with the murders of three women in the Gilgo Beach killings, but RadarOnline.com can reveal the architect may have learned the tricks of the slaying trade by watching the CSI TV series.

"Anyone who watches these shows on TV, they are very familiar with police investigative techniques," said Richard Dormer, the police commissioner for Suffolk County.

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Since 1996, the remains of eight women, one male transvestite, and one little girl have been found dumped all around Long Island. To investigators, the killer attempted to remove an identifying tattoo from one victim. He also dismembered the adults, wrapped their body parts in burlap or plastic, and scattered the pieces around the island.

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Rex Heuermann arrested at his home in Massapequa Park

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"The two bodies they found inland, they were beheaded and their hands were removed and dumped separately — that was so the victims couldn't be identified," said Vernon Geberth, a former New York City detective who wrote the textbook Sex-Related Homicide And Death Investigation.

"We have remains from the same body found near Gilgo Beach and over 40 miles away in Manorville. We have remains found off Ocean Parkway connected to two legs found nearly 20 miles away at David Park on Fire Island.

"And there was a toddler connected to the remain of a female found miles away. We believe they were mother and daughter. The Asian male was a small-type person wearing women's clothes. Our theory is that he may have been involved in the sex trade."

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Five of the women have been identified as Amber Lynn Costello, 27, Megan Waterman, 22, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 25, Jessica Taylor, 20, and Melissa Barthelemy, 24. Many investigators believe the sicko also murdered these four women in Atlantic City, N.J. — Molly Jean Dilts, 20, Kim Raffo, 35, Barbara Breidor, 42, and Tracy Ann Roberts, 23.

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Victims Maureen Brainard-Barnes, Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Costello

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In a sick twist, the psychopath used Barthelemy's cell phone to call the dead woman's 16-year-old sister, Amanda. He played a sadistic cat-and-mouse game with the girl, pretending her sister was alive to keep her on the line during a string of calls.

None of the calls lasted more than three minutes.

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"He was careful enough so that the calls couldn't be traced by the police techs," said criminal profiler Louis Schlesinger told RadarOnline.com one decade ago. "The person could be a cop, or someone familiar with the procedure, or he could just be watching CSI."

All the women were reportedly prostitutes who plied their trade via the Craigslist Internet site. They were all contacted via throw-away cell phones so cops couldn't trace the killer. And police believe the killer may be responsible for the disappearance of another Craigslist hooker, Shannan Gilbert, 23. Police believe they've now found her skeletal remains," Schlesinger explained.

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"On a CSI show, we talk about things that we do to solve crimes," admitted former cop Larry Mitchell, an adviser for the CSI series. "We talk about the things we do to keep crime scenes from being contaminated."

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Heuermann was arrested on Thursday in connection to the deaths of Barthelemy, Waterman, and Costello. All three victims were discovered in Gilgo Beach in December 2010.

Heuermann pled not guilty to the six charges on Friday in a Yaphank, New York, courtroom. He faces charges of three counts of murder in the first degree and three counts of murder in the second degree.

If convicted, he will face life in prison without parole.

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