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Police investigating claim that missing South Carolina woman was last seen with Gilgo Beach murders suspect

The daughter of a missing South Carolina woman claims she recognised Gilgo Beach serial killer suspect Rex Heuermann as the man who allegedly drove her mother to a nail salon just before she vanished six years ago.

That claim is now being looked at by the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, Investigator Scott Bonner confirmed to PIX11 News.

Julia Ann Bean, 36, disappeared from the Sumter area in May 2017. She hasn’t been seen or heard from since.

Last weekend, Ms Bean’s friend Heidi Kovas shared chilling details with PIX11 News that she allegedly learned from the missing woman’s daughter.

“She knew him right away,” Ms Kovas said. “She recognised him right away. She said that was the last person she ever saw with her mom.”

Mr Heuermann, 59, who owns a home in South Carolina but was living in Suffolk County and working in Manhattan, was arrested last month for a slew of killings between 2008 and 2010 that gripped the New York area.

He is now charged in the deaths of Melissa Barthelemy, Amber Costello, and Megan Waterman. Their remains were found along Gilgo Beach on Long Island. He is also the prime suspect in the death of a fourth woman, Maureen Brainard-Barnes.

Julia Ann Bean, 36, disappeared from the Sumter area in May 2017. She hasn’t been seen or heard from since. (Sumter County Sheriff’s Office)
Julia Ann Bean, 36, disappeared from the Sumter area in May 2017. She hasn’t been seen or heard from since. (Sumter County Sheriff’s Office)

Ms Kovas said that her missing friend’s daughter did not know about the Gilgo Beach killings until recently and got “chills” when she saw his picture.

“I have seen him,” she reportedly told Ms Kovas.

The daughter last saw her mother in May 2017 just before her high school graduation. She claimed Mr Heuermann had driven her mother to a nail salon in Sumter.

The salon is about 100 miles south of where Heuermann owns property in Chester County, PIX11 reported.

“That was not his name,” Ms Kovas said the daughter told her. “That is not what he called himself.”

Architect Rex Heuermann is accused of murdering at least three women near Long Island’s Gilgo Beach. A South Carolina woman says she believes he was the last person to be seen with her mother who vanished in 2017 (jtc)
Architect Rex Heuermann is accused of murdering at least three women near Long Island’s Gilgo Beach. A South Carolina woman says she believes he was the last person to be seen with her mother who vanished in 2017 (jtc)

She explained that the daughter told her the man bragged about his lake houses and boats and wanted to marry Ms Bean.

“Her daughter had mentioned multiple, different men giving her mom money,” Ms Kovas said. “I mean there’s no doubt that she was more than likely escorting. She was a beautiful girl, she IS a beautiful girl.”

Ms Bean, who struggled with drug addiction, was not reported missing for more than five months.

“She just walked out of her house,” Ms Kovas added. “She didn’t take a phone. She didn’t take a purse. She didn’t take her drugs. She always had her drugs. Even her daughter said that she left her dope kit.”

Ms Bean vanished in 2017 without her phone or her purse, her friend said (Sumter County Sheriff’s Office)
Ms Bean vanished in 2017 without her phone or her purse, her friend said (Sumter County Sheriff’s Office)

Ms Kovas noted that the Sumter area was known to be an active sex and drug scene and that it was possible Heuermann would make the drive there for dates.

She added that she wants to know where her friend is.

“I’m here, Julie Bean,” Ms Kovas said in the video she recently posted on social media. “I’m not going anywhere, and I’m not giving up.”

Mr Heuermann, who has pleaded not guilty to the charges, is due back in court on 27 September.

All four of the women were believed to be engaged in sex work prior to their disappearance. Other remains were also found in the vicinity but no connection has been made to Heuermann.