Gilgo Beach serial killing suspect returning to court after a renewed search of his home

White tents set up by law enforcement fill the front yard of Rex Heuermann's home, Monday, May 20, 2024, in Massapequa Park, N.Y. Investigators returned Monday to the home of the New York architect charged in a string of slayings known as the Gilgo Beach killings. (AP Photo/Phil Marcelo)

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York architect charged in the Gilgo Beach killings will return to court this week after investigators searched his suburban home and combed a wooded area elsewhere on Long Island.

Rex Heuermann, who has pleaded not guilty in the deaths of four women whose remains were found along a remote beach highway, will appear Thursday in state court in Riverhead, a spokesperson for the Suffolk County district attorney’s office confirmed. He had previously been scheduled to return to court for a June 18 status hearing.

The new court date comes two weeks after investigators returned to Heuermann’s single-story home in Massapequa Park, where they had recovered a cache of weapons during an initial search following his arrest last summer. A date for Heuermann’s trial has not yet been set.

During the most recent search, which lasted several days, investigators placed paint chips and other materials into evidence bags and removed a large rectangular object covered in a blue cloth.

A spokesperson for the prosecutor's office would not say whether the upcoming hearing was related to the renewed search effort.

In April, authorities involved in the investigation also spent more than a week searching a wooded area in Manorville, fueling speculation that they were seeking new evidence linked to some of the additional six sets of remains that were discovered along Gilgo Beach more than a decade ago.

Heuermann, 60, was arrested in July in the deaths of Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Costello. He was charged in January in the death of Maureen Brainard-Barnes.

His attorney, Michael Brown, has said his client maintains his innocence. He declined to comment on the nature of Thursday's hearing.

The case had vexed investigators since the remains of eleven people, most of them young women who had been sex workers, were found on a stretch of Gilgo Beach in 2010 and 2011. Authorities have said the investigation into the other victims remains ongoing.

Robert Macedonio, a lawyer for Heuermann’s estranged wife, said the most recent search of the Massapequa Park home was primarily focused on the basement. He said the family was out of state when the search was conducted.

He declined to say what was taken from the home and said the family has not yet received the search warrant affidavit that would spell out their reasons for conducting the search.

During the initial search of the home in July, authorities tore up a wooden deck and used an excavator to dig up the backyard, which they scanned for buried objects using specialized equipment.

The most recent search was far less disruptive, according to Macedonia.

Vess Mitev, a lawyer for Heuermann’s two adult children, said the family was closely monitoring the developments.

“The hearing is yet another mile marker in this macabre saga, where they continue to be unfortunate bystanders,” he said in a text message.