Attorney for Gilgo Beach murder suspect’s children hits back at claims family knew about alleged crimes

An attorney representing the adult children of suspected Gilgo Beach serial killer Rex Heuermann has hit out at the “wild conspiracy theories” that the family may have known about his alleged crimes.

Vess Mitev told The Independent that the unfounded accusations “shouldn’t even be dignified with a response” – as he said that the family has been plunged into a “constant surreal waking nightmare” since the bombshell arrest of the 59-year-old professional architect.

“These allegations shouldn’t even be dignified with a response,” he said.

“But they are emblematic of someone with a thirst for the spotlight – an unquenchable thirst.”

The pushback from Mr Mitev, who began representing Victoria Heuermann, 26, and Christopher Sheridan, 33, after their father’s arrest, comes after Long Island attorney John Ray accused Mr Heuermann’s wife Asa Ellerup of being involved in her husband’s alleged killing spree.

Speaking at a press conference last month, Mr Ray – who represents the families of two Gilgo Beach victims Shannan Gilbert and Jessica Taylor – claimed that Ms Ellerup should be treated as a suspect in the case.

“It’s part of one large criminal enterprise,” he said.

“She should be considered a suspect and not just a bystander or someone who’s been victimised by her husband.”

Mr Ray has offered no evidence for this claim and Long Island officials are not treating Ms Ellerup, Ms Heuermann or Mr Sheridan as suspects.

Court documents laying out the case against Mr Heuermann have stated that his family members were all out of town at the time of the killings.

Asa Ellerup, Victoria Heuermann and Christopher Sheridan (GoFundMe)
Asa Ellerup, Victoria Heuermann and Christopher Sheridan (GoFundMe)

When asked about the allegations levelled by Mr Ray, Mr Mitev slammed the fact that the “wild conspiracy theories” should even need to be addressed.

The attorney told The Independent that he couldn’t comment on Victoria and Christopher’s thoughts on the allegations against their father – citing possible upcoming litigation – but said that it all plays into the “surreal hellscape that they have found themselves in”.

Mr Heuermann’s adult children have not spoken to him in the almost two months since his arrest.

However, he said it was too soon to say if they plan to maintain a relationship with him in the future.

“At this time we haven’t crossed that bridge yet,” he said.

“It would be premature to speculate on that.”

Instead of fending off unfounded claims about their own lives, Mr Mitev said that Victoria and Christopher are simply trying to survive after being thrust into the national spotlight when their father was arrested for three of the murders that terrorised the Long Island shores over a decade ago.

The 59-year-old professional architect was taken into custody on 13 July when he left his office in Midtown Manhattan and charged with the murders of Megan Waterman, Melissa Barthelemy and Amber Costello.

He is also the prime suspect in the murder of Maureen Brainard-Barnes – who was last seen alive in early June 2007 in New York City and who, with the three other women, is known as the “Gilgo Four”.

Gilgo Beach serial killer suspect Rex Heuermann in court (jtc)
Gilgo Beach serial killer suspect Rex Heuermann in court (jtc)

All four women worked as sex workers and disappeared after going to meet a client. They were all found in December 2010 within one-quarter mile of each other, bound by belts or tape and some wrapped in burlap – their bodies dumped along Gilgo Beach.

They are among 11 victims whose remains were found along the shores of Long Island in 2010 and 2011, sparking fears of one or more serial killers.

At the time of his bombshell arrest, the adult children still lived with their father and mother Asa Ellerup at the family home in Massapequa Park – a stone’s throw from Gilgo Beach where victims’ bodies were dumped.

Since then, they have been forced to deal with the fallout “every moment of every day”.

“The Heuermann children have been living in a constant, surreal, waking nightmare,” he said.

“Just because the news coverage doesn’t continue or it’s not in the news on a daily basis each day, for them it’s every day, it’s every moment. It’s the moment they wake up to the moment they go back to sleep again.

“It’s a situation you wouldn’t want to wish on anyone. It’s not a reality.”

He added: “Their focus has just been on managing their basic daily needs. We have specific, fundamental needs that we require to survive as people and that has really been their primary goal as their resources have been depleted completely or are no longer available to them.

“Their basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter and a safe space to sleep in have been all but obliterated. They’re trying to piece back together those very basic but yet so vital things that most of us take for granted.”

Authorities searching the home of suspect Rex Heuerman (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Authorities searching the home of suspect Rex Heuerman (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Mr Mitev has previously revealed that the family are considering legal action against Suffolk County officials after they say their home was left “in a deplorable condition” from the two-week long police search.

Photos reveal holes cut out of bathtubs, the garden excavated and belongings strewn all over and piled up high in the home that the family-of-four shared.

Since then, Mr Heuermann’s children and wife have been spotted sitting outside their home – as Mr Mitev said the inside of the home is too much of a mess to be in.

“The reason they’ve been photographed so much on the front porch is not because that’s where they congregate but it’s that they have nowhere to sit inside because of the absolute ransacking of the home,” he said.

For now, the family members are just thankful for the kindness of strangers after receiving an outpouring of support from an unlikely source.

Melissa Moore, the daughter of the notorious Happy Face Killer Keith Hunter Jesperson, launched a GoFundMe campaign to help them as she compared their experiences discovering that a close family member had spent years leading a “double life” as an alleged serial killer.

As of 4 September, the GoFundMe had topped $53,000 in donations.

“They really do appreciate the outpouring of support and emotional solidarity. They’re not looking for anything and not looking for any of this,” said Mr Mitev.

“The one thing they want is to get some semblance of private life back.”