After a yearlong search, police investigators in New York announced Tuesday they believe they have discovered the skeletal remains of a missing woman who vanished last December after fleeing a client’s home in a panic one of several deaths police believe may be linked to a serial killer.
Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer said searchers found the bones Tuesday morning in a dense wetland thicket, not far from where Shannan Gilbert disappeared. He said authorities believe it is Gilbert’s corpse.
Police began searching for the 24-year-old woman last December when they came upon the first of what would become 10 homicide victims’ remains. They were strewn along several miles of thicket along a parkway leading to Jones Beach.
Police believe a serial killer is responsible for those deaths. They think Gilbert may have drowned accidentally while fleeing a client’s home for an unclear reason.
Dormer said the location of the skeleton suggests that Gilbert may have been trying to flee across the wetland to a causeway. He suggested that she had become hopelessly entangled in the brush, which he called a “tough, desolate, tangled mess.”
“The terrain would have made it impossible,” for her to get through to the road,” Dormer said. “Our people who were in there over the last few days had to cut through that brush and bramble area, before she was located.”
Gilbert was last seen meeting a client for sex in Oak Beach. Last week, authorities renewed the search after finding some of her personal belongings, including her cellphone, jeans, shoes and pocketbook with ID, in a marshy wetland adjacent to Oak Beach.
Officers using heavy earth-moving equipment have been excavating the site for the past week.
Relatives of others whose bodies were found along a nearby beach highway were holding a vigil Tuesday to mark the anniversary of when their loves ones’ remains were found.
A police officer and his cadaver dog were following up on Gilbert’s disappearance when they came across a set of human remains on 11 December 2010. Two days later, three more bodies were found. By April, the total had risen to 10 bodies, all strewn along several miles of Ocean Parkway, on a barrier island south of Long Island that leads to Jones Beach.
Authorities at first believed several people could be involved, but Suffolk County police commissioner Richard Dormer has said recently that detectives now suspect one serial killer is likely responsible for all 10 deaths because the victims all had some connection to the sex trade.
The victims included eight women, a man and a toddler. Police believe the women were prostitutes and suspect the man was involved in the sex trade because he was found wearing women’s clothing. The toddler is believed to be the child of one of the prostitutes. Only five of the 10 victims have been identified, and police have not commented on any possible suspects.Comments (0)