Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Long Island Ripper

Megan Waterman

   

Megan Waterman
Megan Waterman
Just off the Long Island Expressway, the deserted, semi-industrial area around the Hauppage Holiday Inn Express isn't the sort of place where most people would want to walk alone late at night. But that's what surveillance footage shows Megan Waterman to have been doing when she was last seen alive on June 6, 2010. She left the hotel alone around 1:30 a.m., on foot.

Waterman, raised in Scarborough, Maine, had apparently checked in alone too, though she was reportedly visiting Long Island with her boyfriend, Akeem Cruz. She took a six-hour bus trip from Portland, Maine, to New York City and then to Long Island just after Memorial Day. Cruz was from Brooklyn, and she visited the New York area with him at least every few months.

Akeem Cruz
Akeem Cruz
A single mother, Waterman had worked at a series of sandwich shops, scraping together a living. She met Cruz in a bar in early 2009. They started dating, and he allegedly shared his ideas about an easier way that she could support herself and her child, and him. He reportedly introduced her to using Craigslist to set up appointments with men who were eager to spend cash for her time and her body. Waterman's mother, Ela Waterman, alleged that Cruz was her daughter's pimp. Ela says that her son's ex-girlfriend told her that Megan was selling herself on the popular online classifieds site.

The family soon discovered that Megan had even been charged with prostitution. On October 17, 2009, she'd made arrangements to meet a Craigslist client at the Extended Stay Hotel in Bethpage, Long Island—but that supposed client had been a Nassau County undercover detective, and when she had agreed to perform a sexual act for money, he had arrested her. She had been arrested two other times in 2009: for theft and for the sale and use of drug paraphernalia.

Her boyfriend was arrested twice in Portland. First, Cruz was accused of threatening a woman with a knife, slashing her tires, and saying he'd kill her. The other time Maine Drug Enforcement Agents raided his hotel room and allegedly found 13 grams of cocaine, approximately $1300 worth of the drug.

Ela Waterman
Ela Waterman
Ela Waterman and Megan's aunt, Elizabeth Meserve, both begged her to stop and to leave the man that they claimed was leading her into a dangerous life of crime and depravity.

But in June Waterman made another Long Island appointment. She checked in without Cruz, and he would later tell authorities that he'd last seen her around 8:00 or 9:00 p.m. on June 5, and that he had talked to her by cell phone around 1:30 a.m. the morning of June 6. In the spring of 2011, authorities obtained a warrant to search his computer; they haven't yet made public what they were looking for or what they found.

When she went on trips, Megan Waterman would call her mother three times a day to see how her 3-year-old daughter, Liliana, was doing. 9:50 p.m. on June 5, 2010 was the last time she would talk to her mother and child.

Her body turned up with the others six months later, 23 miles away from the Holiday Inn Express. On the day police confirmed the remains was hers, Megan Waterman would have turned 23.

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