The accused Gilgo Beach serial killer was a nerdy guy who left little love notes on a classmate’s locker in high school, the shocked former classmate recalled Sunday.
Rex Heuermann was quiet, shy and was bullied by other kids at Berner High School in Massapequa, LI, Maureen Boyle-Holpit, 59, told the Daily News.
The love notes she found were unsigned, but she caught Heuermann leaving one on her locker, she said. She didn’t return his feelings, but he wasn’t threatening and she wasn’t afraid of him, she added.
“He seemed like a good person. I felt sorry for him,” Boyle-Holpit recalled, speaking from her Florida home. “He was very quiet, a bit shy, seemed like a nice giant.”
He was “a bit nerdy” and he was harassed, she noted. “I was nice to him”
They graduated in 1981 and she had no idea what happened to her after high school. Actor Billy Baldwin said he too was in the same suburban high school class as the suspected serial killer.
Learning that the silent high school geek is the freak accused of killing three sex workers was “very crazy,” Boyle-Holpit said. She learned of her arrest from a friend who called her and told her to check the latest news bulletins.
“I was shocked. I was blown away,” she said. “I pray for families who have lost loved ones.”
Zachary Szpila, the half-brother of Gilgo Beach victim Melissa Barthelemy, said Heuermann “hurt a lot of families, including mine.”
“I hope someone he prays to, someone can forgive him, but it won’t be us,” the 25-year-old relative said.
The married father of two is charged in the deaths of Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Costello and is the prime suspect in the death of Maureen Brainard-Barnes.
Barthelemy, a Buffalo native living in the Bronx, was the first victim found at Gilgo Beach. Her body was discovered in December 2010, more than a year after she disappeared.
Two days later, the bodies of three other women were found nearby.
The killer made taunting phone calls to Barthelemy’s family using his cell phone, and at least one of those calls was traced to Massapequa, not far from Heuermann’s home.
Szpila said his parents, including the father he shares with the victim, were “doing well” with the news.
“It’s like bringing back memories and everything,” he said. “I think we need to see how this all pans out before my parents get some kind of real closure.”
The 59-year-old architect from Massapequa was charged on Friday with three of the murders in the long-running string of unsolved murders and pleaded innocent. If convicted on all counts, Heuermann could face multiple life sentences without the possibility of parole.
Suffolk County authorities say they have not ruled out Heuermann in connection with the deaths of six other victims whose bodies were found in the remote section of marshy scrubland and tangled brambles.
In total, the remains of 11 victims were found – nine women, one man and a toddler. All but the little girl were said to be sex workers.
The tall, heavy suspect was arrested on a Manhattan street outside his Midtown office on Thursday evening.
In high school, Boyle-Holpit said, Heuerman stood out for being much taller than the other kids.
A pimp of victim Amber Costello, who helped authorities catch Heuermann, also pointed out her size.
The unidentified pimp said he and Costello met a man, later revealed to be likely Heuermann, with the intention of robbing him. But seeing how big he was, they abandoned their plans.
The pimp met with investigators in the spring of 2022, and his description of the man’s truck, a green first-generation Chevrolet Avalanche pickup, proved to be a turning point in the case.
Investigators used data from the mobile phone site to track the suspect’s whereabouts at the time of the killings and uncovered cell phones allegedly used by Heuermann to arrange his meetings with the victims.
Heuermann’s DNA was found on a pizza crust recovered from his trash can, and it’s linked to a hair found in a piece of burlap used to move Waterman’s remains, officials said.
His dilapidated Massapequa home remained blocked by law enforcement on Sunday, and investigators could be seen pulling boxes and other items from the home and loading them into waiting vehicles.