SUMTER COUNTY, S.C. (PIX11) — An investigator with the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office in South Carolina said Monday he was looking into claims that a missing woman, Julia Ann Bean, was last seen in 2017 with a man who looked like Gilgo Beach serial killer suspect, Rex Heuermann.
“We’ll be looking into it on our end,” Investigator Scott Bonner told PIX11 News, confirming that Bean’s friend, Heidi Kovas, drove to Sumter County on Sunday to share information she had gleaned from the missing woman’s daughter.
Kovas had posted on Facebook over the weekend, telling PIX11 News Bean’s daughter shared texts with her that she recognized Heuermann from the last time she saw her mother, then 36, in late May 2017, shortly before her high school graduation. Kovas said the daughter had Googled a recent photo of Heuermann.
“She knew him right away,” Kovas said. “She recognized him right away. She said that was the last person she ever saw with her mom.”
Kovas said the daughter recalled Heuermann had driven Bean to a nail salon in Sumter, which is about 100 miles south of where he owns property in Chester County, South Carolina.
“That was not his name,” Kovas said the daughter told her. “That is not what he called himself.”
Kovas said the mystery man boasted that he had lake houses and big boats the girl could use for a party — and that he wanted to marry her mom.
Both Kovas and Bean’s family said the missing woman struggled with drug addiction.
“Her daughter had mentioned multiple, different men giving her mom money,” 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.”
Kovas said she stopped in her tracks when she saw news reports on TV that Heuermann, a married architect, has property in South Carolina. And she claimed she was jolted when she saw photos of the Gilgo Four — the women who were found in the brush off Ocean Parkway on Long Island in December 2010. Heuermann was accused of binding the women in camouflage burlap in three of the murders. He has pleaded not guilty.
“They look like Julia,” Kovas said. “They look just like Julia. The blonde hair, the green eyes, petite.”
Kovas said it was odd that Bean reportedly left her bag and phone at home.
“She just walked out of her house,” Kovas said. “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.”
The family didn’t report Bean missing for more than five months, and the missing woman’s advocates believe that played a role in police not aggressively searching for her. PIX11 News tried to reach Bean’s daughter with a Facebook message and was waiting to her back from her.
Kovas said there’s an active sex and drug scene in Sumter, and it’s possible Heuermann made the 90-minute to two-hour drive from Chester County to seek dates.
“I’m not here to cause any trouble,” Kovas said. “I just want to know where Julia Ann is.”