The suspect in police custody Friday in connection with a long-unsolved string of murders of women on Long Island, New York, lived in a comfortable South Shore suburb not far from the Beach Highway where Human remains were first found more than ten years ago.
Four senior law enforcement officials briefed on the case identified the suspect as Rex Heuermann, 59, of Massapequa Park, a village in Nassau County.
At a news conference on Friday, Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison did not name the suspect, but said he was arrested in midtown Manhattan on Thursday evening and transported to the county of Suffolk.
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It was not immediately clear if Heuermann had an attorney. The Suffolk County Attorney’s Office said there was a “significant development in the case” but declined to comment further until the end of court proceedings later Friday.
The case has dogged investigators for years after the discovery of human remains in 2010 near Gilgo Beach led to the discovery of 16 victims, many of whom were known sex workers. Police believe some of these deaths are linked to a serial killer.
Who is Rex Heuermann?
On Friday, authorities blocked Heuermann’s home in Massapequa Park. Officials in hazmat suits could be seen entering the modest one-story house, located in a block of larger, well-maintained residences. Investigators were searching the property in addition to Heuermann’s offices in midtown Manhattan.
Some neighbors said they had short interactions with Heuermann and his family over the years, but they were generally left alone.
Heuermann stood out as a “big, big, big guy. Always well dressed,” said Patrica Maressa, 64, who has lived next door to Heuermann’s home for more than two decades.
“I’m still shocked that this happened,” she said, adding, “It’s a very quiet area. At night you could hear a pin drop.”
Heuermann’s home is also listed as part of his company, RH Consultants & Associates. He earned his architectural license in 1996 and New York State records show he has no enforcement action listed.
Its clients include Catholic Charities, the New York Department of Environmental Protection, American Airlines and other major tenants of John F. Kennedy International Airport, according to an online biography.
In an interview from his Manhattan office posted on YouTube by Bonjour Realty in early 2022, Heuermann said he was an architectural consultant and “troubleshooter”, born and raised on Long Island and working in Manhattan since 1987. He talked about the inner workings of his craft and how he educated city entities about local architectural codes.
When asked what qualities someone would need in their job, he replied, “I don’t like to use the word tolerance, but sometimes you have to. And it’s not just with the city. It’s also with the client, because most clients, they don’t understand what I have to do, why I have to do it and what it takes to do it.”
Heuermann also spoke of learning to build furniture from his father, who he described as an aerospace engineer who built satellites.
“I build furniture at home and I always build it in the same workshop,” he said. “I have a tool that is used in pretty much almost every job, and it’s actually a cabinetmaker’s hammer. It’s pretty persuasive when I need to persuade something.”
“Not someone?” asked the interviewer.
“Something,” Heuermann said, “and it always gives great results.”
At least one person who knows Heuermann said his arrest was at odds with the man she got to know through weekly networking meetings.
“I knew him as a friend and colleague. And I’m completely surprised,” the woman said, adding that she last spoke to him on Tuesday via Zoom.
“He was very organized. He was very friendly,” she said. “I didn’t see that coming.”
This article originally appeared on NBCNews.com