The corrupt former police chief went to great lengths to derail the investigation, because he himself was hiring prostitutes and didn’t want to be found out.
The Long Island man whose tip proved key to nailing Gilgo Beach murder suspect Rex Heuermann wants to know why it took police more than a decade to follow up on his lead.
“I gave them the exact description of the truck and the dude,” David Schaller said in his first interview since the accused serial killer’s arrest July 13. “I mean, come on! Why didn’t they use that?”
Schaller, who lived with Gilgo Beach victim Amber Lynn Costello before she disappeared in September 2010, told cops at the time that the man he believed to be her abductor looked like a hulking “ogre” with an “empty gaze” who drove a distinctive first-generation green Chevy Avalanche.
Schaller said he scuffled with the creep when the man threatened Costello, a sex worker, who locked herself in their bathroom to protect herself from her enraged “client.”
On Sept. 2, 2010, she set out to meet the same customer and was never seen alive again.
“When they told me she was dead, he was the first person who jumped into my head,” Schaller told the Associated Press of the then-unknown suspect. “I’ve been picturing his face for 13 years.”
But it wasn’t until last year that Suffolk County cops began properly examining the tip when they reopened their probe — under the direction of new chief and former NYPD honcho Rodney Harrison — into the cold-case murders of Costello and the 10 other people whose bodies were found between 2010 and 2011 in a marshy stretch on Long Island’s South Shore.
Schaller’s information helped finally identify Heuermann, a Massapequa Park architect, as a suspect in the murder of Costello and at least two of the other slain women.
Heuermann, a massive figure who drove a Chevy Avalanche, fit Schaller’s description of Costello’s violent “client” to a tee.
“This was crucial information, and I don’t know why they didn’t share it,” said former Suffolk County Police Detective Rob Trotta, now a county legislator. “They made serious blunders here.”
……Police said Schaller’s tip, along with burner phone records and DNA pulled from a discarded pizza crust, all helped lead them to Heuermann, who was arrested outside his Midtown offices.
Heuermann pleaded not guilty at his arraignment and is being held in jail without bail.
The Gilgo Beach serial killings went unsolved for over a decade because corrupt police officers botched the case, a Long Island writer has claimed.
Robert Banfelder, who has written two books on the case, slammed Suffolk County authorities for failing to make an arrest until last week, when Rex Heuermann was charged in the killings of three of the ‘Gilgo Four,’ a group of women whose bodies were discovered near the Long Island beach in 2010.
‘They failed, they failed miserably,’ he told The New York Post. ‘They thwarted everyone who was trying to help the investigation, especially the FBI. These are bad dudes who botched the case.”
The author, 80, lives about 45 miles from Gilgo Beach and has previously described what he calls a ‘culture of corruption’ surrounding the people in charge of the murders investigation.
He particularly took aim at former police chief James Burke, former district attorney Thomas Spota and former Anti-Corruption Bureau chief Christopher McPartland.
Burke was convicted in 2016 of conspiring to obstruct justice and violating a victim’s civil rights for attacking a thief after he broke into his squad car and stole a duffel bag containing porn and sex toys.
His longtime mentor Spota and veteran anti-corruption prosecutor McPartland were convicted in December 2019 on counts of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, witness tampering and civil rights violations for helping to cover Burke’s actions.
Banfelder accused Spota of ‘dropping the ball’ in the Long Island serial killings because he hired ‘bad cop’ Burke, who removed the FBI from the investigation when he allegedly knew they were also looking into his assault of the thief.
‘They all go way back,’ Banfelder said.
‘Burke could do what he damn well pleased… He was involved in prostitution and he was partying. There’s no question about that.’
DailyMail.com previously revealed that Burke led a double life that allegedly included smoking crack, cross-dressing and relationships with prostitutes.
Before Burke became Suffolk County’s top cop, he had been involved in a series of scandals involving prostitutes and drugs, including a tryst in his police car with one of them.
Heuermann was dramatically arrested last Thursday night in Midtown Manhattan outside his Fifth Avenue firm, 13 years after the discovery of four bodies along Gilgo beach, all wrapped in camouflage burlap sacks. In total, the bodies of 11 people, including a toddler, have been found along that same stretch.
He is also the lead suspect in the 2007 disappearance and subsequent murder of the fourth woman, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, though he has not yet been charged in the case.
“Botched”, “dropped the ball” , my ass. It was a complete coverup by dirty cops. Burke is an immoral, depraved pervert who should have been charged with abuse of office and conspiracy same as his cohorts. Pummeling a thief shouldn’t be a crime.
You can bet that Heuermann has a more victims to his credit. Thanks to Burke, Spota, and McPartland he had plenty of time.