Who was Maureen Brainard-Barnes? All about Long Island Serial Killer’s Victim

Maureen Brainard-Barnes
Who was Maureen Brainard-Barnes? All about Long Island Serial Killer's Victim

Long Island serial killer suspect Rex Heuermann has been charged with the murder of a fourth Gilgo Beach victim.

The unsealed indictment was revealed in court on Tuesday, where Suffolk County prosecutors filed charges against Heuermann for the murder of Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 25.

Rex Heuermann
Prosecutors charged Rex Heuermann with the murder of Maureen Brainard-BarnesCredit: Getty – Pool

ALSO READ: Who is Rex Heuermann’s wife Asa Ellerup, and how many children does he have?

Who was Maureen Brainard-Barnes?

Maureen Brainard-Barnes was born July 14, 1982, in New London to Marie Ducharme, of Groton, and the late Robert Senecal, according to her obituary.

Brainard-Barnes grew up in Groton and attended Fitch High school, her sister Melissa Cann told the Hartford Courant in 2012. Brainard-Barnes became a mother at 17 and had two children before she disappeared, her sister said.

Cann said her sister had worked as a card dealer at Foxwoods Resort Casino, then later as a cashier and telemarketer.

Sarah Marquis told The Bulletin in Norwich in January 2011 that she was a friend of Brainard-Barnes and described her as someone who “had a lot of energy” and “thought everyone was her friend.”

Marquis said friends knew there was a problem when Brainard-Barnes stopped calling because she was often on her phone.

“I just want to know,” Cann told the Courant in 2012, “I don’t want to die not knowing who took my sister’s life, you know.”

Maureen Brainard-Barnes
Maureen Brainard-Barnes’ remains were found in 2010 along a stretch of Long Island’s Gilgo BeachCredit: Suffolk County Police Department

ALSO READ: Rex Heuermann: Who are the Gilgo Beach murder victims?

What happened to Maureen Brainard-Barnes?

Brainard-Barnes’ remains were found near the exact location as the other three victims along a stretch of Long Island’s Gilgo Beach in 2010.

At the time of Heuermann’s arrest last July, investigators said the 60-year-old architect from Massapequa Park, about 30 minutes away from Gilgo Beach, was the prime suspect in Brainbard-Barnes’ murder.

Brainard-Barnes, 25, disappeared in 2007, and it wasn’t until 2010 that her corpse was found restrained with a belt that had the initials WH or HM, which investigators believe could have belonged to one of Heuermann’s relatives.

Criminal charges against Heuermann were delayed pending DNA test results on a hair recovered from her remains.

Prosecutors said Heuermann’s now-estrange wife, Asa Ellerup, and their children were out of town when Brainard-Barnes disappeared and was killed, according to court filings.

Investigators believe Brainbard-Barnes was the first of the Gilgo Four victims to be killed, according to an indictment unsealed on Tuesday.

Suffolk County prosecutors previously established a pattern between Heuermann’s family’s travel arraignments and the disappearance of the four victims.

“Based on the foregoing, the murders of all four victims occurred at times when Defendants Heuermann’s wife and children were traveling out of state, which allowed Defendants Heuermann unfettered time to execute his plans for each victim without any fear that his family would uncover or learn of his involvement in these crimes,” prosecutors wrote.

Rex Heuermann pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in connection to Brainard-Barnes’ death.

Ellerup attended Tuesday’s hearing as her attorney, Bob Macedonio, attempted to distance her from her estranged husband’s alleged actions.

“Again, [the indictment] makes clear that Asa Ellerup and her children were not involved, even in the jurisdiction, when these murders took place,” Macedonio told reporters.

Rex Heuermann
Crime scene map, Ocean Parkway, Babylon NY Suffolk County Police Department


Brainard-Barnes’ body was found along the remote stretch in 2010, where investigators also uncovered the remains of Megan Waterman, 22, Amber Lynn Costello, 27, and Melissa Barthelemy, 24.

The women, who all worked as escorts, are believed to have disappeared between July 2007 and September 2008.

Since the grisly discoveries, the four women were dubbed the Gilgo Four by the media.

Barthelemy’s remains were the first uncovered, as investigators at the time were looking for another missing woman, Shannan Gilbert, 23.

Gilbert, a New Jersey native, went missing on May 1, 2010, after making three distressing 911 calls that night.

The 23-year-old can be heard saying in the 911 calls that she “feared for her life.”

Her body was discovered in the marshes of Gilgo Beach on December 13, 2011, which prompted authorities to continue searching the area.

Six additional corpses were uncovered, belonging to five other missing women and one man.

The circumstances around those deaths are still being investigated.

Heuermann previously pleaded not guilty to the murders of Waterman, Costello, and Barthelemy.

ALSO READ: Who is Rex Heuermann? Everything you need to know about Gilgo Beach serial killer suspect


Last October, attorney John Ray said new evidence connected Heuermann with two more victims, Gilbert and Karen Vergata.

Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney said Vergata disappeared on February 14, 1996, but a missing persons report was never filed.

At the time, the 34-year-old lived on West 45th Street in Manhattan and was an escort, Tierney said.

Vergata’s legs were found in a plastic bag at Davis Park on Fire Island’s Blue Point Beach on April 20, 1996.

Her skull was found in April 2011 along Ocean Parkway but wasn’t positively identified until August 4, 2023.

Heuermann has not been charged with the murders of Gilbert or Vergata. His next court hearing is scheduled for February 6.

Rex Heuermann
Rex Heuermann was arrested in July 2023 and charged with three counts of first-degree murderCredit: AP
Rex Heuermann
From left to right: Melissa Barthelemy (top left), Amber Costello (top right), Megan Waterman (bottom left), and Maureen Brainard-BarnesCredit: AP

A timeline of the Gilgo Beach murders

A community on Long Island, New York, was left looking for answers after the remains of numerous people were found in Gilgo Beach. This is a timeline of events that led to the arrest of a suspect, Rex Heuermann.

April 1996: The first remains were found in relation to the Gilgo Beach murders. Authorities referred to the victim as, “Fire Island Jane Doe.”

November 2000: The remains of a woman were found in Manorville, New York. The victim was named “Manorville Jane Doe.”

July 2007: Maureen Brainard-Barnes goes missing.

July 2009: Melissa Barthelemy goes missing.

May 2010: Shannan Gilbert vanishes. She called the police before she went missing.

June 2010: Megan Waterman goes missing.

September 2010: Amber Lynn Costello disappears.

December 2010: The remains of Melissa Barthelemy are found by investigators in Gilgo Beach. The investigators were searching for Shannan Gilbert at the time. Later, investigators found three other bodies which were wrapped in burlap at Gilgo Beach. Authorities announced a serial killer may have murdered the women.

January 2011: The remains were identified as Megan Waterman, Melissa Barthelemy, Amber Lynn Costello, and Maureen Brainard-Barnes.

March 2011: Human remains are found near Gilgo Beach.

April 2011: The bodies of three other victims were found near Gilgo Beach. Two other victims were found near Jones Beach, about five miles from where the other bodies were found near Gilgo Beach.

November 2011: The Suffolk County Police Department announces the victims found near Gilgo Beach were most likely sex workers. They believe one person may be responsible for the murders.

December 2011: The remains of Shannan Gilbert were found in Gilgo Beach.

December 2015: The FBI joins the probe into the murders.

May 2020: The remains of Manorville Jane Doe were identified as Valerie Mack.

July 13, 2023: Authorities announce the arrest of Rex Heuermann. The suspect was arrested in Manhattan. He was charged with the deaths of Amber Lynn Costello, Melissa Barthelemy, and Megan Waterman. He was named the prime suspect in the murder of Maureen Brainard-Barnes. Heuermann pleaded not guilty.

ALSO READ: Rex Heuermann Family: Meet wife and children of Gilgo Beach serial killer suspect

Fact Check: We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn’t look right, contact us!

We appreciate your continuous support in reading stories on Atinkanews.net

Feel free to share this story on any social media platforms.

Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookInstagram, and Telegram.