Where is Joel Rifkin now? | The story of New York’s most prolific serial killer

Joel Rifkin

What did Joel Rifkin do?

Joel Rifkin murdered 17 women in a four-year period, starting in 1989. His first murder is believed to have taken place in February, 1989, when he killed Heidi Balch in his home. He dismembered her body and put her head in a paint can that he left in the woods on a golf course in New Jersey. 

In early March of 1989, Balch’s severed head was found on the seventh hole of the golf course, with the rest of her remains found in a creek near Jefferson Township in New Jersey. Her remains were not fully identified until 2013. 


How was Rifkin caught? 

Rifkin was implicated in Balch’s murder after his arrest in 1993. His arrest happened as a result of picking up sex worker Tiffany Bresciani, who was working in Manhattan on the 24th June, 1993. She was with her pimp and boyfriend, a musician called Dave Rubinstein, and Rifkin told him she would return in twenty minutes. When Tiffany failed to return, Rubinstein got the police involved and gave a description of the Mazda pickup truck Rifkin picked Tiffany up in. 

State troopers picked Rifkin up on the 28th June, 1993 when patrolling Long Island’s Southern State Parkway, when they noticed his pickup truck without a licence plate. After pulling him over, they found Bresciani’s body under a tarpaulin. 


Where is Joel Rifkin now? 

Joel Rifkin was found guilty of nine counts of second-degree murder in 1994 and was sentenced to 203 years in prison. Rifkin is serving his life sentence at Clinton Correctional Facility in New York. He is 64 years of age. 

Law enforcement initially thought Rifkin could be responsible for some of the Long Island murders in Gilgo Beach, but Rifkin denied any involvement, and a lot of the timelines didn’t match with when he was active. Earlier this year, Rex Heuermann was arrested and charged with the murders of three women and is suspected of murdering another woman. However, there are many more murders still unsolved in the Long Island area. 


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