Serial killer suspected loose in New York, more bodies found

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The entrance to West Gilgo Beach, New York
Image: Dmadeo.

Police in Suffolk County, New York suspect that a serial killer may be on the loose in the area, following the discovery of eight bodies on beaches near the New York City area since December 2010. The latest discovery of three corpses was made by investigators on Gilgo Beach, which is a barrier island south of Long Island about 45 miles (70 kilometres) east of New York. The corpses were located in an area of "dense brush".

Four of the eight bodies located so far along a highway near the beach have been identified as prostitutes who had arranged meetings with clients via the internet, over services such as Craigslist; victim number five, whose body was found last week, has not yet been formally identified. Police forensics officers took a month to discover who the first four victims were, using dental records and DNA sampling.

Police are remaining cautious over the latest batch of three, saying that they have yet to officially connect this find with the previous five corpses.

According to Suffolk County's Police Commissioner, Richard Dormer, the latest three sets of remains were found by officers on foot and via an air search as they scoured tick-infested underbrush and evergreens. The remains of the new victims were found about 500 metres apart.

During the investigations, police have also been focusing on the disappearance of a prostitute from New Jersey, Shannan Gilbert. She was last seen in the Oak Beach, New York area in May 2010, where she had arranged to meet a client. A witness in a gated community claims that a woman he suspects to be Gilbert came to the door of his house around 4.45pm on May 1 last year, begging for help. She fled when he tried to call the police.

DNA testing however, has determined that the fifth body is not Gilbert's.

A thorough search is continuing in the area, Commissioner Dormer said, using all available methods ranging from cadaver dogs, police academy cadets and detectives through to volunteer firefighters.


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