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NY Post
New York Post
5 Aug 2023

NextImg:Gilgo Beach victim Karen Vergata’s last call to her dad was on his birthday — the exact day she disappeared in 1996: report

Karen Vergata, a longtime Jane Doe in the Gilgo Beach murders, made one last call to her father for his birthday before she vanished more than two decades ago and her remains were found just two months later.

Vergata, 34, whose dismembered remains were found on Fire Island, called her family for the last time on Feb. 14, 1996, the US Sun reported Saturday.

That is the exact date Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney says she disappeared.

Two months after the Valentine’s Day call, on April 20, Vergata’s legs were found in a plastic bag on Fire Island’s Blue Point Beach.

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 on Long Island, not far from the remains of the original “Gilgo Four.”

Vergata was Jane Doe No. 7.

Suffolk County officials announced Friday that the remains of “Jane Doe No. 7” of the Gilgo Beach murders belonged to Karen Vergata.
Kevin C. Downs for NY Post

Rex Heuermann was arrested on July 13 and charged with three of the “Gilgo Four” murders but no charges have been made in Vergata’s death, and he has not been listed as a suspect.

Vergata’s father, Dominic Vergata, filed a 2017 petition to have his daughter declared dead and obtain her unclaimed assets. He detailed the last time he heard from her and added that the two had regular contact over the phone, according to the Sun.

Dominic Vergata obituary photo
Dominic Vergata filed a 2017 petition to officially declare his daughter, Karen, dead.

The elder Vergata died in 2022.

Vergata was living on West 45th Street in Manhattan at the time of her disappearance and is believed to have been working as an escort but she was never officially reported missing.

Her two sons, Eric and Gary Doherty, did not find out about her horrific death until the official press conference on Friday, The Post exclusively reported.

Gilgo Beach sign.
Karen Vergata’s remains were found separately in 1996 and 2011, first on Fire Island and then near the remains of many other victims at at Gilgo Beach.
Getty Images

“He just thought [Vergata] was missing,” Eric’s girlfriend, Michelle Nolan, said over the phone Friday afternoon because he was too distraught to speak.

The news of her body being identified was “kind of a shock,” Vergata’s step-sister Brenda said, adding that Dominic “didn’t really talk about” his daughter’s disappearance.

The family had hired a private investigator and contributed DNA samples that eventually led to her identification.