Experts: Advances in DNA technology helped lead to arrest in Gilgo Beach murders

Retired New York City Detective David Sarni says with advances in DNA analysis, hairs, fingernails, blood stains and other sources of DNA do not have to be in pristine condition for investigators to find a match.

Doug Geed

Jul 21, 2023, 2:25 AM

Updated 367 days ago

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Experts say breakthroughs in DNA technology have played a huge role in making an arrest in the Gilgo Beach murders.
Retired New York City Detective David Sarni says with advances in DNA analysis, hairs, fingernails, blood stains and other sources of DNA do not have to be in pristine condition for investigators to find a match.
He says this was key in the Gilgo Beach investigation.
"You're dealing with burlap sacks with bodies in them left for an extended periods of time with nature to affect them," Sarni says.
Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney says that suspect Rex Heuermann's home and vehicle are being searched for evidence "inch-by-inch."
Sarni, who is also an adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, says that is no exaggeration.
WATCH: DOCUMENTARY AND BACKGROUND INFORMATION - Gilgo Beach: Unsolved
"If there's a chance you could retrieve some sort of sample from whatever evidence you locate, then you do it," Sarni says.
Sarni says DNA evidence was one piece of the puzzle in arresting Heuermann for three of the Gilgo Beach murders.
He says investigators worked on the case prior to DNA evidence and are continuing to work on it.


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