Photo of bizarre crime scene offers public first glimpse of possible Gilgo Beach killer – NBC New York
What there is to know
- Police conduct multi-year investigation into bodies found along stretch of highway near Gilgo Beach
- The search for Shannan Gilbert, a missing sex worker from New Jersey, led law enforcement to discover 10 separate sets of remains, most of which are also believed to be sex workers.
- Gilbert’s body was found a year after the others; authorities have refused to confirm a link between his death and the other bodies. An autopsy for her turned out to be inconclusive
Shannan Gilbert, a sex worker from New Jersey, went missing after meeting a client in Oak Beach on Long Island in 2010. The search for her would have led to the gruesome discovery of nine other bodies along a stretch of highway. near Gilgo Beach; four of them were sex workers who were found strangled and thrown into burlap bags within a kilometer of each other.
No arrests have been made for any of their deaths.
Almost a decade later, police share what they describe as “previously undisclosed evidence” in their quest for answers – and a new commitment to share information with the public about their continued investigation into the mystery. of these discoveries. on Ocean Parkway.
This new piece of evidence is a photo of a belt spotted at one of the crime scenes. Authorities declined to say where exactly it was retrieved, but said they believed the belt – a black leather belt with the letters HM or WH embossed on it – had been manipulated by the killer and did not belong to a victim.
Police declined to give more details on the belt on Thursday, declining to answer a question about its size.
Search for missing woman leads to search for possible serial killer
Gilbert’s body was found in a swamp about a year and a half after he went missing. She had called Oak Beach 911 and said someone was trying to kill her; this call lasted about 22 minutes. There were three other calls. Despite the efforts of her now deceased mother’s lawyer, Mari Gilbert, to have the appeals released – and a court order to do so – they were never made public.
The Suffolk County Police Department appealed a court’s decision to compel the release; the appeal division court is expected to rule on the appeal next week, according to longtime Gilbert family attorney John Ray.
At his own press conference at Suffolk County Police Department headquarters ahead of investigators’ briefing on Thursday, Ray condemned the police department for “inadequate and negligent work” of trying to locate Gilbert’s killer (s) and other women. He accused Suffolk County of covering up the facts, as it has done before, and vehemently dismissed the cops’ long-held claim that Gilbert died of “natural causes” while he was ‘was lost in the swamp after fleeing an unknown threat.
The search for the missing 24-year-old sex worker has led law enforcement to the gruesome discovery of 10 separate sets of remains, most of which are also believed to be sex workers.
On December 11, 2010, an officer found the body of Melissa Barthelemy, a call girl who went missing in 2007. Two days later, officers discovered the remains of three other missing prostitutes – Megan Waterman, Amber Lynn Costello and Maureen Brainard-Barnes, who all advertised their sexual services on Craigslist. These four bodies had been thrown within a quarter-mile radius, about 500 feet apart. All of the victims were in their twenties – Brainard-Barnes from Connecticut, Waterman from Maine, Costello from North Babylon.
The following April, authorities found a partially dismembered woman, later identified as another prostitute, Jessica Taylor, an unidentified Asian man, two unidentified women and an unidentified baby girl. The toddler was determined, through DNA testing, to be the daughter of the woman found about 7 miles away (see map above). They have not been identified.
Authorities said they were victims of homicides – and a possible serial killer. No suspect has ever been publicly named in any of these cases.
On December 13, 2011, investigators finally found Gilbert’s body about half a mile from where she was last seen. She was found in a creeping swamp with thorny brush and police said they believed Gilbert drowned by accident. The autopsy by a forensic pathologist was inconclusive.
Later, an independent autopsy performed by renowned medical examiner Michael Baden revealed that Gilbert had suffered injuries. “Consistent with homicidal strangulation”. Police have always said they did not believe her death was related to others. The Suffolk Police Commissioner reaffirmed this on Thursday, saying they did not believe the pattern and circumstances matched the deaths of the other women. That said, the police commissioner added that the authorities will not rule out any possibilities.
Gilbert’s mother, Mari, refused to let the case escape the public eye and lobbied law enforcement for a homicide investigation that was never successful. Husband Gilbert died in July 2016, who was allegedly stabbed to death by her other daughter, Sarra, who suffers from schizophrenia.
Suffolk County Police officials announced on Thursday they are launching a new website – GilgoNews.com – devoted to updating the public on the investigation. They declined to answer further questions about other evidence or possible suspects, citing the ongoing nature of the investigation.