It appears two years in prison was not deterrent enough for prolific fish killer Reb Raymer of Hampton Bays. Despite being released from prison for good behavior in December, Raymer is allegedly back to his old, grisly tricks—this time being arrested for murdering tens of thousands of menhaden, aka bunker, in three separate incidents around western Shinnecock Bay between August 28 and September 3. These are the latest in a growing list of fish kills being attributed to Raymer, who blames bunker for drowning his father when he was just nine years old.
“Mr. Raymer is absolutely pathological,” Hamptons Police Department Chief Aquatic Crimes Profiler Dr. Brenton Cleary said on Monday. “The prospect of him hanging up his weapons and giving up on this mission of vengeance is about as likely as you or I giving up breathing.”
According to HPD records, Raymer set out in a small skiff under the cover of darkness and spent the next five consecutive days plying his bloody trade around Shinnecock Bay. “Mr. Raymer got up-close and personal with each of these fish, clubbing thousands upon thousands to death, one by one, until the waters and shore were literally covered with their corpses,” Dr. Cleary said, describing the carnage. “The man even weathered storms, never allowing wind or rain to stop him from exacting his revenge, but, lucky for us, he was seen by multiple witnesses, and he’s now in custody.”
Back in July of 2015, when Raymer claimed responsibility for an equally devastating pair of fish kills in Peconic River that summer, he shared his motivation, noting, “My father was knocked out of his boat by a school of them bunker. Those fish put him in the water and he never came out.”
Raymer’s 2015 kills, which were his first—as far as police are aware—were methodically executed. At the time, he said, “First I started picking them off with my 30 ought six, but those buggers kept comin’, so when I ran out of shells I went after ‘em with my fishing knife. And when the knife slipped and I dropped it into the river, I went to work with my bare hands.”
Later, in November 2016, the perpetrator changed his methods, using an “oxygen depleter device” to terminate greater numbers of menhaden while making it appear they died of natural causes. But he was eventually caught and jailed for eco-terrorism and cruelty to animals. “Now that he’s out of jail, it seems Mr. Raymer has returned to doing his work by hand—the way he likes it,” Dr. Cleary surmised, “but we’re onto his game, and there will be justice for the families of these fish.”
Raymer has not spoken a word to police since his arrest, neither confirming nor denying his role is the fish genocide. Dr. Cleary, however, is confident the suspect will be unable to resist taking credit for his crimes.