Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison said the investigation at the Massapequa Park home of alleged Gilgo Beach killer Rex A. Heuermann will likely wrap up at some point next week.
In an impromptu briefing with reporters Saturday morning at the scene, Harrison said there are “a lot of items in the house” that investigators are sorting through.
“The good thing is we have a lot of manpower here,” he said. “Working with all of our agencies will help us hopefully get Massapequa Park back their neighborhood sooner than later.”
Heuermann, 59, is accused of killing three sex workers whose remains were found in December 2010 in a wooded area of Gilgo Beach. He's also considered a "prime suspect” in the killing of another woman whose body also was found in the Gilgo Beach area.
He has pleaded not guilty to three counts each of first- and second-degree murder.
On the ninth day of the investigation after Heuermann's arrest July 13, police in Massapequa Park continued to block off First Avenue, the street where Heuermann lived, between Pennsylvania and Connecticut avenues.
The crime scene still drew curious onlookers, although the crowds had thinned considerably compared to a week earlier.
Harrison called the investigation a “great, collaborative effort” and a “24-hour, seven-day-a-week operation.”
“The team effort is helping us get to a place where we can present it to Ray Tierney, the district attorney, and put this gentleman away for a very, very long period of time,” the commissioner said.
Investigators appeared to be working in the backyard Saturday morning and could be seen removing plants and a large piece of a deck. Two police officers were seen walking a police dog near the home. In the early afternoon, State Police investigators were carrying out stacks of firewood, even using a wheelbarrow.
Suffolk and Nassau police also remained at the scene, along with the Suffolk County Crime Lab.
Massapequa Park Mayor Daniel Pearl visited the scene Saturday and spoke to some neighbors who were outside their homes and also checked to see if there was any assistance he could offer the officers.
"It's not something you expect to be in your neighborhood or in your backyard," he told reporters as a news helicopter circled overhead.
He said when police conclude their investigation, the village will work closely with town and county officials to "give back the peace" residents had before the morning of July 14, when investigators descended on the neighborhood after Heuermann's arrest the previous night in Manhattan.
"I don't know if it'll ever get back to that kind of quality of life, per se," Pearl added. "The new normal is going to be a little chaotic for a while."
Nadir Almakay, 36, and his girlfriend Katis Romig, 36, rode their bicycles past the scene and stopped by television cameras peering toward the house.
“I’m curious to know if I ever passed him in the neighborhood, in a restaurant or something,” said Almakay, who added that he’s lived in the neighborhood for five years.
They had stopped by a week earlier as well, they said, shortly after the news broke.
A neighbor whose house is located on the corner where media and onlookers assemble tied a black garbage bag to a post Saturday morning, kindly asking people to clean up.
Harrison, during his brief remarks Saturday, credited the patience of neighbors.
Drones buzzed overhead, trying to catch a peek of the investigation in the yard. One man said he came from Flanders to see the crime scene up close and flew a drone from a nearby street. Others simply strolled past, eager for the neighborhood to return to normal.