The Suffolk County Police Department on Thursday released new details about the first four Gilgo Beach victims discovered nearly 12 years ago, the latest in a series of public information releases intended to help solve the mystery of who killed 10 people and dumped their bodies along Ocean Parkway.

The remains of Gilgo Beach homicide victims Maureen Brainard Barnes, 25, of Norwich, Connecticut; Melissa Barthelemy, 24, of the Bronx; Megan Waterman, 22, of Scarborough, Maine; and Amber Lynn Costello, 27, of West Babylon, also known as the "Gilgo Four,” were located within a quarter mile of one another near Gilgo Beach in December 2010. The other victims, many of them sex workers, were found the following year.

“As the Homicide Squad continues its tireless work on this investigation, we believe now is the right time to disseminate this previously unreleased information in hopes of eliciting tips from the public and providing greater transparency about the victims,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner RodneyK. Harrison said in a statement Thursday. “Through our recent partnership with Crime Stoppers increasing the reward in this case to $50,000, our hope is that the public will review this information and come forward with any additional tips about the victims or a potential suspect or suspects.”

Harrison, who became police commissioner in late December and said the Gilgo Beach homicide investigation was a top priority, has moved to release more information in the cold case that had been initially hobbled in the past by law-enforcement infighting and corruption. Last month, the police department released a video of Waterman in a Hauppauge hotel just before she disappeared almost 12 years ago. Harrison recently announced a task force involving the FBI, Suffolk County sheriff and other law enforcement agencies to assist with the probe.

Harrison has also said he is considering the release of 911 calls in the case of Shannan Gilbert, another sex worker whose 2010 disappearance led to the discovery of the Gilgo Beach victims.

"It is a favorable development in this saga but it is a cat and mouse approach, dropping little hints in dribs and drabs,” John Ray, the attorney for Gilbert’s estate said Thursday. "Let's have a comprehensive expose of what they know."

Family members of the victims did not respond to messages seeking comment Thursday.

(Clockwise from top) Amber Lynn Costello, Megan Waterman, Melissa Barthelemy,...

(Clockwise from top) Amber Lynn Costello, Megan Waterman, Melissa Barthelemy, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, Credit: Newsday composite/Newsday composite

The information released Thursday included basics about the victims' backgrounds, when and where they were last seen alive and personal details such as tattoos.

Brainard Barnes, believed to be the first of the Gilgo victims, had advertised her services on various websites as “Juliana” or “Marie,” according to the newly released information from investigators.

She was last heard from on July 9, 2007 at 11:43 p.m. when she called a friend in Connecticut. She had said she was going to meet a customer.

Barthelemy was the first victim found by authorities, but she is believed to be the second of the "Gilgo Four" to be killed, police said Thursday.

She went by “Chloe” and “VerySexyChloe,” while advertising as a sex worker on various websites, police said. She was last seen at her Bronx apartment on July 12, 2009, when she told a friend she was going to see a man and would be back in the morning, police said. Her cellphone records show she traveled from the Bronx to Manhattan. Her body was found Dec. 11, 2010 on the north side of Ocean Parkway.

Waterman, whose last known image was recently released by police via a hotel lobby video, advertised herself as “Lexxy and Sexy Lexi,” was last seen by her family boarding a New York-bound Concord Trailways bus in Maine, possibly with her pimp, police said.

Waterman left the Holiday Inn Express in Hauppauge at 1:30 a.m. on June 6, 2010 to meet a client. Her body was found Dec. 13, 2010 on the north side of Ocean Parkway. She is believed to be the third victim.

Costello was a heroin addict and advertised on Craigslist and Backpage using the names “Carolina” and “Mia” to support her and her roommates’ heroin addiction. Costello had tattoos of “Kaos” on her neck, a butterfly on her lower back and the word “Margeret”  on her leg.

Costello was last seen leaving her house on Sept. 2, 2010 to meet a client who was picking her up at her house.

In the early days of the investigation, police released few details. Then-Police Commissioner Richard Dormer and former Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota feuded publicly over their theories of the case, with Dormer saying the killings were likely committed by a single person, while Spota said evidence pointed to at least three killers. And the investigation suffered under the leadership of former Suffolk Police Chief James Burke, who shut down the department’s partnerships with the FBI.

Former Suffolk Police Commissioner Timothy Sini re-engaged the FBI in the investigation when he took the helm of the department in late 2015.

In early 2020, then-Suffolk Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart, who previously headed the Long Island office of the FBI, took a new approach, setting up the gilgonews.com website and releasing the image of a belt buckle in an attempt to reinvigorate the investigation.

Under Hart’s leadership, authorities used genetic genealogy to confirm the identity of one of the unidentified victims as Valerie Mack, whose remains were discovered in 2000 and 2001 in two locations, a major breakthrough in the investigation.

Three other sets of remains, including that of a toddler, a woman believed to be the child’s mother, and an Asian man remain unidentified. Investigators have said that those remains contain degraded DNA, making the use of genetic genealogy more difficult.

The Victims

Maureen Brainard-Barnes

Barnes, 25, the apparent first of the Gilgo victims, is believed to have taken an Amtrak train from New London, Connecticut to Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan on July 6, 2007 – three days from when she was last heard from, Suffolk police said. Brainard-Barnes, who was 4 feet 11 inches tall, was working as a sex worker and advertising on Craigslist, Backpage and other websites under the names of “Juliana” or “Marie.” She routinely traveled from her home in Connecticut to work as an escort in Manhattan for a few days, then returned home.  She was last heard from on July 9, 2007 at 11:43 p.m. when she called a friend in Connecticut to say she was going to meet someone on an “out-call,” meaning she was meeting a customer somewhere other than the hotel where she had been staying.  Brainard-Barnes was reported missing by a friend to the Norwich Police Department on July 14, 2007. Her remains were found December 13, 2010 on the north side of Ocean Parkway.

Melissa Barthelemy

Barthelemy, 24,  was  a sex worker who advertised on Adult Friend Finder and other websites using the names “Chloe” and “VerySexyChloe,” was last seen at her residence, a basement apartment at 1149 Underhill Ave. in the Unionport section of the Bronx on July 12, 2009, police said. That night, Barthelemy told a friend, who was aware she was a sex worker, she was going to see a man and would be back in the morning. Barthelemy’s cellphone records show she traveled from the Bronx to Manhattan, most likely by taxi. She was reported missing to the NYPD on July 18, 2009 by her mother. The NYPD investigation found her cellphone was in Manhattan, Freeport, Massapequa and Lindenhurst. Police said they investigated motels in and near those areas. Standing 4 feet 10 inches tall, she had the words “Blaze” and “Focus” tattooed on her back, and letters on her chest.  Barthelemy’s body was found Dec. 11, 2010 on the north side of Ocean Parkway, near Gilgo Beach.

While Barthelemy was the first victim found, police believe she is the second of the "Gilgo Four" to be killed.

Megan Waterman

Waterman, 22,  a sex worker who advertised on Craigslist and Backpage and used the names "Lexxy" and "Sexy Lexi," was last seen by her family boarding a New York-bound Concord Trailways bus in Maine, police said.

Waterman was staying at the Holiday Inn Express, located at 2050 Express Drive South in Hauppauge. Waterman was known to stay at other hotels and motels on Long Island, including the Extended Stay America in Bethpage. Waterman left the Holiday Inn Express at 1:30 a.m. on June 6, 2010 to meet a client. After family member didn’t hear from her – they thought it was uncharacteristic of her not to check on her 3-year-old daughter – she was reported missing on June 8, 2010.

Waterman’s body was found on December 13, 2010 on the north side of Ocean Parkway, near Gilgo Beach. She is believed to be the third victim in what is known as the “Gilgo Four.”

Amber Lynn Costello

Costello, 27, worked as sex worker who lived in a West Babylon house with another woman and two men when she disappeared, police said.  A heroin addict, Costello had recently completed a 28-day drug rehab and moved to New York from Clearwater, Florida, but had a relapse before her disappearance, police said.  Costello, who was 4 feet 11 inches tall, advertised on Craigslist and Backpage using the names “Carolina” and “Mia” and had tattoos of “Kaos” on her neck, a butterfly on her lower back and the word “Margeret” on her leg.  She was last seen leaving her home on foot on September 2, 2010 to meet a client who was picking her up at home.  Costello’s body was found on the north side of Ocean Parkway, near Gilgo Beach, on Dec. 13, 2010.   Police believe she is the fourth victim in what is known as the “Gilgo Four.”

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