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Breakthrough in Gilgo Beach Serial Killing Investigation: New Victim Identified!

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New Victim Identified in Gilgo Beach Serial Killing Investigation

Authorities announced on Friday that they have identified another victim in the ongoing investigation of the Gilgo Beach murders in New York. The victim, previously known as Jane Doe No. 7, whose remains were discovered on Long Island’s Fire Island on April 20, 1996, has now been identified as Karen Vergata, a 34-year-old woman. The breakthrough in identification came through genealogical DNA analysis, according to Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney, who spoke at a news conference.

Karen Vergata went missing in February 1996 and is believed to have worked as an escort at the time of her disappearance. Additional parts of her remains were found on Long Island’s Tobay Beach on April 11, 2011. However, no charges have been filed in connection with her case as of now, as Tierney stated during the news conference.

The authorities withheld releasing Vergata’s identity until they could notify her family, initiating a grand jury confidential investigation into the Gilgo Beach murders in the process.

Tierney further revealed that the FBI, utilizing genetic genealogy and other methods, is on the brink of identifying three more unidentified victims in the broader Gilgo Beach investigation. In the past, the FBI used genetic genealogy to positively identify another victim linked to Gilgo Beach, Valerie Mack, among the ten victims tied to the case.

Rex Heuermann, a New York City architect and father of two from Massapequa Park, Long Island, remains a prime suspect in the Gilgo Beach murders. He was arrested on July 13 for the murders of three of the Gilgo Beach victims, namely sex workers Megan Barthelemy, Megan Waterman, and Amber Costello, who disappeared in 2009 and 2010. Their bodies were found on Long Island in 2010. Heuermann’s attorney entered a not guilty plea on his behalf for these charges.

Additionally, Heuermann is considered the prime suspect in the death of Maureen Brainard-Barnes, who vanished in 2007. Although he has not been charged in that case, ongoing investigations are expected to lead to a resolution soon. Authorities noted that Brainard-Barnes’ remains were bound with a distinctive belt bearing the initials “WH” or “HM,” which are connected to Heuermann’s father.

Meanwhile, Suffolk County prosecutors are seeking a court order for Heuermann to provide a DNA sample to ascertain whether he is linked to other Gilgo Beach killings or unsolved murders nationwide. The current DNA samples used to tie him to the three murders he is charged with cannot be submitted to national or statewide databases used by law enforcement agencies for further investigations.

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