Task force investigating Gilgo Beach murders identifies Jane Doe No. 7

Suffolk DA Ray Tierney says Karen Vergata was 34 years old at the time of her disappearance.

Krista McNally

Aug 4, 2023, 9:34 AM

Updated 314 days ago


The task force investigating the Gilgo Beach murders has identified the victim known as Jane Doe No. 7 as Karen Vergata.
Authorities say they have identified Fire Island Jane Doe as Karen Vergata.
Vergata’s legs were found in a plastic bag at Davis Park on Fire Island’s Blue Point Beach on April 20, 1996.
Suffolk DA Ray Tierney says Vergata, previously known as the “Fire Island Jane Doe,” was 34 years old at the time of her disappearance on Valentine’s Day 1996.
Archive Video: Remains wash up on Fire Island - 4/20/1996
Tierney says Vergata lived in Manhattan and was believed to be working as an escort at the time of her disappearance. There are no charges in her case at this time.
Her skull was found on April 11, 2011, near the partial, dismembered remains of Jane Doe No. 3, also known as "Peaches," off Ocean Parkway and west of Tobay Beach.
The crime lab linked both parts of the victim’s body and determined it was the same person in July 2011.
A breakthrough came in September 2022 when the FBI was able to do a genetic genealogy review of Vergata, Tierney says.
“In October of 2022, using a swab from a relative, we were able to definitely identify her,” Tierney says.
The district attorney says they waited to make the announcement because they were beginning their confidential investigation into the Gilgo Four at around the same time Vergata was identified.
“So, we decided we were not going to make public comment,” Tierney says. “Since that has become public, we can make this important announcement now.”
Tierney also says Vergata’s family was notified ahead of the announcement.
Investigators did not say if Rex Heuermann is at all connected to Vergata’s death.
Tierney refused to answer any questions from the media at the end of Friday’s news conference. The district attorney says it is a confidential investigation.

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