Police are still searching the woods in Manorville in connection to the Gilgo killings.  Credit: Newsday/James Carbone

Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney said Monday that the now weeklong search for human remains in the woods surrounding Manorville is a “necessary investigative step” in an ongoing homicide case.

Tierney, following a news conference on other cases Monday, declined to discuss with reporters specifics of the search in the woods surrounding Manorville, even as K-9 officers were simultaneously scouring forestland directly north of the Suffolk County courthouse, where he was speaking.

The district attorney declined to say if the Manorville woods had ever been so comprehensively searched in the more than two decades since partial remains of two of the victims in the Gilgo Beach homicide investigation had been found there, along with other individuals not connected to that case.

He acknowledged it is the first time police have searched Manorville for human remains since he took office in 2022.

Tierney said the time to talk about the multiagency search, which involves Suffolk County police, NYPD and State Police, will be when the evidence they uncover leads to an indictment.

“The district attorney's office speaks through their indictments; we could amplify that, we could explain those indictments, but without an indictment, you don't talk,” Tierney told reporters from about a dozen media outlets gathered at a news conference on other cases being handled by his office.

Tierney even declined to connect the search, which has spanned sections of southeastern Brookhaven and into portions of Riverhead and Southampton towns to any particular ongoing investigation, though sources have told Newsday that the search relates to the Gilgo Beach homicides.

He also declined to speak about why the search expanded to North Sea in Southampton Town on Friday, in woods where a woman’s body was found in an unsolved 1993 homicide that was never connected to Gilgo Beach.

Asked how much such an exhaustive search of thousands of acres of mostly preserved woodlands involving multiple departments might be costing Suffolk taxpayers, Tierney said he could not assign a dollar amount to it.

“While I'm sure there are overtime costs being incurred, when you're dealing with the loss of life, and trying to bring closure to families, I don't think you look at what's it going to cost to provide closure,” the district attorney said, adding that in talking to investigative partners, they agreed searching those woods was necessary.

In November 2000, partial remains of Valerie Mack, a New Jersey native, were found in a wooded area west of Halsey Manor Road near Mill Road in Manorville. In 2003, partial remains of Jessica Taylor, who lived for a time in the Bronx, were located about a mile south near the Long Island Expressway. Other remains of both women, who had been sex workers, were later found along Ocean Parkway near Gilgo. No arrests have been made in the killings of Taylor and Mack.

Rex A. Heuermann, an architect from Massapequa Park, was charged in four other Gilgo Beach homicide cases. None of his alleged victims had remains located in Manorville. Tierney declined to discuss Heuermann on Monday.

Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney said Monday that the now weeklong search for human remains in the woods surrounding Manorville is a “necessary investigative step” in an ongoing homicide case.

Tierney, following a news conference on other cases Monday, declined to discuss with reporters specifics of the search in the woods surrounding Manorville, even as K-9 officers were simultaneously scouring forestland directly north of the Suffolk County courthouse, where he was speaking.

The district attorney declined to say if the Manorville woods had ever been so comprehensively searched in the more than two decades since partial remains of two of the victims in the Gilgo Beach homicide investigation had been found there, along with other individuals not connected to that case.

He acknowledged it is the first time police have searched Manorville for human remains since he took office in 2022.

Tierney said the time to talk about the multiagency search, which involves Suffolk County police, NYPD and State Police, will be when the evidence they uncover leads to an indictment.

“The district attorney's office speaks through their indictments; we could amplify that, we could explain those indictments, but without an indictment, you don't talk,” Tierney told reporters from about a dozen media outlets gathered at a news conference on other cases being handled by his office.

Tierney even declined to connect the search, which has spanned sections of southeastern Brookhaven and into portions of Riverhead and Southampton towns to any particular ongoing investigation, though sources have told Newsday that the search relates to the Gilgo Beach homicides.

Suffolk County Ray Tierney talks to reporters in the law...

Suffolk County Ray Tierney talks to reporters in the law library at Suffolk County Court in Riverhead on Monday. Credit: James Carbone

He also declined to speak about why the search expanded to North Sea in Southampton Town on Friday, in woods where a woman’s body was found in an unsolved 1993 homicide that was never connected to Gilgo Beach.

Asked how much such an exhaustive search of thousands of acres of mostly preserved woodlands involving multiple departments might be costing Suffolk taxpayers, Tierney said he could not assign a dollar amount to it.

“While I'm sure there are overtime costs being incurred, when you're dealing with the loss of life, and trying to bring closure to families, I don't think you look at what's it going to cost to provide closure,” the district attorney said, adding that in talking to investigative partners, they agreed searching those woods was necessary.

In November 2000, partial remains of Valerie Mack, a New Jersey native, were found in a wooded area west of Halsey Manor Road near Mill Road in Manorville. In 2003, partial remains of Jessica Taylor, who lived for a time in the Bronx, were located about a mile south near the Long Island Expressway. Other remains of both women, who had been sex workers, were later found along Ocean Parkway near Gilgo. No arrests have been made in the killings of Taylor and Mack.

Rex A. Heuermann, an architect from Massapequa Park, was charged in four other Gilgo Beach homicide cases. None of his alleged victims had remains located in Manorville. Tierney declined to discuss Heuermann on Monday.

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