Suffolk police release new information on 'Gilgo Four'
Suffolk County police have released additional information on the "Gilgo Four" murder victims.
It's part of a renewed effort to bring in new tips in the decade-old cold case.
Police unveiled that Amber Lynn Costello, 27, lived on America Avenue in West Babylon.
They say she was last seen at her house in September 2010 before becoming one of the 10 Gilgo Beach murder victims.
Costello was one of the four women who Suffolk police released new details on Thursday.
All of the "Gilgo Four" were sex workers in their 20s whose remains were found within a quarter-mile away from one another along Ocean Parkway in December 2010.
The newly released information includes where the four victims were from, tattoos they had , where they met their clients and where they were last seen.
Officials also recently released video of Megan Waterman, another one of the "Gilgo Four", leaving a hotel in Hauppauge in 2010.
They believe she met her killer that night.
Rose Palminteri, a neighbor of Costello, told News 12 that there was rampant drug use at the house and a lot of disturbance.
However, Palminteri says Costello never caused any major problem and that she was heartbroken when she learned what happened to Costello.
"I feel terrible because she really never bothered anybody, she really didn't," Palminteri says. "She seemed to be a nice enough person. It happens, girls get involved in things they shouldn't get involved in for whatever reason. I feel very bad about it. About all those girls."
It was also revealed that Melissa Barthelemy's cellphone pinged in Manhattan, Freeport, Massapequa and Lindenhurst.
After she was reported missing, her sister received taunting calls from her cellphone, believed to be from the killer.
Those calls were made near Penn Station and the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
Maureen Brainard-Barnes was last heard from in July 2007 after calling a friend in Connecticut.
Police are releasing information in hopes of getting new leads in the case.
Shannan Gilbert's remains were found near Oak Beach and the search for her led police to find the other 10 bodies.
Her family's attorney, John Ray, says police should release more information to the public if they can.
"I'm happy to see it, but I also wish that police would give us a more comprehensive body of evidence than they have," Ray says. "Since they have adopted this new policy of recruiting the public by giving the public information to help solve the case."
They are offering a $50,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in the case.
Information can be found at the investigation's website.
Here is the full news release:
Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney K. Harrison today announced the release of information on Gilgo Beach homicide victims Maureen Brainard Barnes, Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Lynn Costello, also known as the "Gilgo Four.” The "Gilgo Four" were located within a quarter mile of one another near Gilgo Beach in December 2010.
The new information, which includes previously unreleased personal information and last known whereabouts, can be found on the department’s recently redesigned www.gilgonews.com website.
“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 Rodney K. Harrison said. “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.”
Maureen Brainard-Barnes was 25 years old when she went missing and was living at 180 Prospect St. in Norwich, Connecticut. She is believed to have taken an Amtrak train from New London, Connecticut to Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan on July 6, 2007.
While in Manhattan, she was staying at the Super 8 Motel, located at 59 West 46th St. At the time, Brainard-Barnes, who was 4 feet 11 inches tall, was working as a sex worker, advertising on Craigslist, Backpage and other websites. She was known to advertise under the names Juliana or Marie. Her routine was to travel to Manhattan for a few days to work as an escort, and then return home to Connecticut. While in Manhattan, she was known to stay at The Super 8, The Red Roof Inn on West 32nd Street, the Carter Hotel on West 43rd St. and the Manhattan Hotel on 8th Avenue.
On occasion, Brainard-Barnes would travel with another female who worked out of a different room at the same location. They both may have used a male friend, who they would refer to as their cousin, to accompany them and offer a level of safety and protection. Brainard-Barnes traveled with her female friend the weekend she went missing, however her friend returned home early and Brainard-Barnes stayed behind. Brainard-Barnes was last heard from on July 9, 2007 at 11:43 p.m. when she called a friend in Connecticut. Although she was known to work out of motel rooms, on the night of July 9, 2007, she told her friend she would be going to meet someone outside of the motel on an “out-call.”
Brainard-Barnes was reported missing by a friend to the Norwich Police Department on July 14, 2007. The NYPD assisted the Norwich Police Department in the missing person investigation, eventually taking it over. Brainard-Barnes was found on December 13, 2010 on the north side of Ocean Parkway, near Gilgo Beach, during the search for Shannan Gilbert, who had gone missing from Oak Beach.
She is believed to be the first victim in what is known as the “Gilgo Four.”
Melissa Barthelemy was last seen at her residence, a basement apartment at 1149 Underhill Ave. in the Unionport section of the Bronx on July 12, 2009. She was 4 feet 10 inches tall and was 24 years old when she was last seen.
Barthelemy was a sex worker who advertised on Adult Friend Finder as well as other sites. She used the aliases Chloe and VerySexyChloe. She had tattoos of the words “Blaze” and “Focus” on her back, and letters on her chest. She was also known to meet clients at bars, restaurants and hotels on the West Side of Manhattan.
On July 12, 2009, the night she was last seen, Barthelemy told a friend she was going to see a man and would be back in the morning. This friend was aware she was a sex worker, but Barthelemy offered no other details. Her cellphone records show she traveled from the Bronx to Manhattan, most likely via taxi.
Barthelemy’s mother had not heard from her or been able to contact her for a few days so she reported her missing to the NYPD on July 18, 2009. The investigation showed cellphone activity in Manhattan, Freeport, Massapequa and Lindenhurst. Motels in and near these neighborhoods were investigated.
After Barthelemy had been reported missing, her younger sister received a series of taunting phone calls from someone using Barthelemy’s phone. These calls are believed to have come from the killer and were made from the area near the Port Authority Bus Terminal on 8th Avenue, and also from near Penn Station. These areas were thoroughly canvassed immediately following the calls, however, due to the large amount of pedestrian and vehicular traffic, no leads were developed.
On December 11, 2010, Barthelemy’s body was found on the north side of Ocean Parkway, near Gilgo Beach, during the search for Shannan Gilbert.
Although she was the first victim found, she is believed to be the second of the "Gilgo Four" to be killed.
Megan Waterman was 22 years old when she was last seen on June 6, 2010. Waterman was a resident of Scarborough, Maine and was a sex worker who advertised on Craigslist and Backpage. She used the names Lexxy and Sexy Lexi. She was last seen by her family boarding a New York-bound Concord Trailways bus in Maine, possibly with her pimp.
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. Waterman called her pimp, who was in Brooklyn at the time, to tell him she was going to a convenience store near the hotel.
Waterman was reported missing to the Scarborough Maine Police Department on June 8, 2010. Family members felt it was unlike her not to call them to check on her then-3-year-old daughter. The Scarborough Maine Police Department contacted the Suffolk County Police to assist in the missing person investigation.
Waterman’s body was found on December 13, 2010 on the north side of Ocean Parkway, near Gilgo Beach, during the search for missing person Shannan Gilbert.
She is believed to be the third victim in what is known as the “Gilgo Four.”
Waterman’s pimp was arrested on federal charges of Interstate Trafficking of Prostitutes on April 11, 2012 and was sentenced to three years in federal prison in January 2013. There is no information to suggest he had any knowledge or participated in any way in Waterman's murder.
Amber Lynn Costello
Amber Lynn Costello was 27 years old and lived at 1112 America Ave. in West Babylon when she was last seen by acquaintances. Costello was a heroin addict who lived at the house with another female and two men, who were also heroin addicts. Costello, who was 4 feet 11 inches tall, and was a sex worker who advertised on Craigslist and Backpage to support her and her roommates’ heroin addiction. Costello used the names Carolina or Mia and had tattoos of “Kaos” on her neck, a butterfly on her lower back and the word “Margeret” on her leg.
Costello had moved to New York from Clearwater Florida and had completed a 28-day drug rehab, but had relapsed not long before her disappearance.
Costello and her roommates shared a cellphone. The other female roommate was also a sex worker supporting a heroin addiction and the two male roommates would arrange dates with clients for the women. Costello did “in-calls” at her home, as well as “out-calls.”
When Costello would meet clients at her home, the two male roommates would often arrange a scam, during which, once a client had paid money, and before any sex acts occurred, they would confront the client saying Costello was their girlfriend and the client would flee.
Costello was last seen leaving her residence on foot on September 2, 2010 to meet a client who was picking her up at her house. Costello did not have her cellphone with her at the time and she was never reported missing.
Costello was found on December 13, 2010 on the north side of Ocean Parkway, near Gilgo Beach, during the search for missing person Shannan Gilbert.
She is believed to be the fourth victim in what is known as the “Gilgo Four.”
This is a developing story. News 12's Kevin Vesey is working on gathering additional details for his report at 5 p.m.
More on the Gilgo Beach murders: Gilgo Beach: Unsolved