By Mark Morales, CNN
(CNN) — The adult children of a man charged with murder in New York’s Gilgo Beach killings are “absolutely innocent bystanders that were caught up in a hellscape,” the attorney representing the children told CNN on Tuesday.
The attorney, Vess Mitev, said his clients Christopher Sheridan, 34, and Victoria Heuermann, 26, have been struggling in the days since their father, Rex Heuermann, was arrested last month in the high-profile case.
Investigators invasively scoured the family’s Long Island home, and the siblings have had no access to money to even buy food because accounts have been tied up in the probe, Mitev said. Mitev is trying to ensure their rights are protected during the investigation, he said.
“They have rights and remedies that need to be protected,” Mitev said. “Those (include) what the next steps are with the investigation, which we don’t know what that’s going to be. But as you can imagine, it’s developing day by day.”
Rex Heuermann, 59, was arrested in New York City last month, more than a year after a police task force explored his possible connection to the cold case known as the “Gilgo Four,” named for the Long Island, New York, beach where human remains were found more than a decade ago.
Rex Heuermann is charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Melissa Barthelemy in 2009 and Megan Waterman and Amber Costello in 2010, according to Suffolk County prosecutors.
He is also the prime suspect in the 2007 disappearance and death of a fourth woman, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, according to a court document from prosecutors, but he hasn’t been charged in connection with that fourth homicide.
Through his attorney, Rex Heuermann has said he is not guilty of the charges against him.
Evidence shows Rex Heuermann’s wife and children were out of the state when the three women are believed to have been killed, Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney said last month.
Rex Heuermann lived with his spouse and children in the village of Massapequa Park, across the bay from where the remains were found, on the southeastern edge of Nassau County.
Neither of the suspect’s children has any reason to fear the investigation, Mitev said.
“The allegations were a shock to the entire family unit,” Mitev said. “There is no concern. There is only the desire to be properly advised and represented.”
Mitev declined to say what would be next for the suspect’s children in the investigation.
“They’re emotionally, physically and mentally constantly having to reassess their position in life in real time,” Mitev said. “It has taken an incredible toll on them and they’re doing the best they can as a family unit.”
“A lot of tears have been shed,” Mitev said.
Rex Heuermann’s wife, Asa Ellerup, filed for divorce after his arrest. She had “no idea” about her husband’s alleged actions and a flood of public attention has been “extremely overwhelming” her and her two children, she and her attorney, Bob Macedonio, told CNN on July 31.
The family home was “torn up” by investigators, Macedonio said.
“Everything in the house was turned upside down,” Macedonio said. “Dresser drawers were emptied out. The bathroom tub – which was a vinyl tub – was actually cut open. The floors were ripped up. The couches and the mattresses have been removed.”
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CNN’s Jason Hanna contributed to this report.