Entries in Long Island Beach Serial Killer (8)


Search for Woman's Remains at Long Island Beach Yields Evidence

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Police searchers recovered evidence on Tuesday potentially linked to Shannan Gilbert, a young woman who disappeared near the same stretch of the Long Island, N.Y., beach where an apparent serial killer dumped the bodies of his victims.

Police recovered the item or items during Tuesday's search of a swampy area near the ocean beach, according to sources.  The sources did not specify what evidence was found.

A third day of searches at the Gilgo Beach Association area begins on Wednesday.

Ten sets of dismembered human remains have been found in the area, believed to be the work of a single serial killer who dumped his victims' bodies there.

Gilbert's disappearance, however, is not believed to be linked to the serial killer, sources said.  In fact, there is a strong likelihood that Gilbert was not murdered at all, sources said, but was a victim of cold water and strong currents after possibly falling in to the water.

On the night of her disappearance, witnesses told police Gilbert did not appear to be acting rationally.  She was last seen in May 2010 apparently running from someone near Tuesday's search area.

Tuesday's search, which included putting divers in the water, was not based on any new tip, nor were any human remains found.

The renewed effort began Monday under FBI direction and using information gleaned from past FBI flyovers with sensitive photography equipment able to see down through ground cover.

Rabbit and seagull carcasses were found, but no human remains.

Based on the belief that Gilbert may have wandered into the swamp, the search will continue.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Police Hunting Long Island Serial Killer Fear They'll Find More Bodies

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(HEMLOCK COVE, N.Y.) -- Investigators hunting a serial killer are confident they could find additional bodies as they escalate their search along a stretch of New York beaches where at least nine bodies have been discovered so far.

The gut feeling that there are more bodies hidden along the shores of Long Island has police going to extraordinary lengths to scour the area for remains. The lone road through the area was expected to be closed down for several hours Thursday as an FBI plane with sophisticated cameras and sonar is scheduled to join the search.

Police divers returned to Hemlock Cove for a second day, a body of water near where some of the bodies have been found. Police sources told ABC News that they are searching the cove in the belief that storms that lash the barrier island may have washed evidence, or bodies, into the water.

Searchers on foot are still combing the thick scrub and a WABC chopper Thursday spotted officials taking a large black bag and several canvas bags from the brush and putting them in the back of a truck. Whatever was in the bags had been found in the brush.

Investigative sources also tell ABC News that they are increasingly convinced that they are finding the victims of a serial killer and a second killer.

Four of the bodies have been identified as prostitutes who advertised on Craigslist. Those bodies were all found wrapped in burlap and are believed to be the victims of a serial killer who is preying on prostitutes. Those bodies were spaced about 500 feet apart.

Another woman who advertised on Craigslist, Shannan Gilbert, is missing and was last seen in the area screaming for help.

Four other bodies, three adults and a toddler, were found farther away and were not wrapped in burlap. Police believe those bodies have been on the beach longer than the slain prostitutes. Investigators do not believe they are connected to whoever is killing prostitutes.

Another set of remains and a skull may be the corpse of a ninth victim or from two more victims.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Police: Some Long Island Serial Killer Victims May Have Been Dismembered

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The serial killer who dumped his victim's bodies in the thick brush along several miles of New York's beachfront may have dismembered several of them, law enforcement authorities have told ABC News.

The grisly twist was the latest revelation as police continued to uncover a murderous path carved along Long Island beaches by at least one killer.

Investigators have determined that bones found Monday were human, bringing the body count to nine and possibly 10 victims.  It's still not clear whether a skull found alone Monday was part of victim number nine or would be victim number 10.

The bodies were discovered along a 3.5-mile stretch of beach with five of the bodies spaced out about 500 feet apart, police said.

The possibility that some of the skeletal remains were dismembered came as police were considering clear-cutting the thick brush that has made seaching the area difficult.  Police fear that when the brush starts blooming in the coming weeks the search would become even more difficult.  Police divers are also preparing to dive in order to search bay waters for more bodies.

Searchers have used cadaver dogs, horses and fire truck aerial ladders to scour the thick beachfront vegetation for victims.  Faced with slashing rains and swampy ground, a helicopter was used for Tuesday's dragnet.

While at least several of the victims appear to have been killed and dumped by a serial killer, authorities had not yet ruled out the possibility that more than one killer was responsible for the human remains, which included those of a child.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Long Island Serial Killer: Victims' Families Find Comfort in One Another

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Each time investigators discover another set of bones on a stretch of New York beaches believed to be the dumping ground for a serial killer, the families of the killer's victims are struck by fresh grief and reach out to each other for solace.

"Every time they find more, it's like it starts the whole tragedy all over again.  It's like we find out it's our own child that they found over again," said Lorraine Ela, the mother of murder victim Megan Waterman.

That ritual was carried out again Monday when investigators discovered a skull and another set of remains near the Long Island beach, bringing the total number of possible victims to 10.

Ela's 22-year-old daughter disappeared last June and her body was discovered in December.  As the investigation continues, Ela said that she sends Facebook messages to other victims' relatives daily and has developed a strong bond with them.

"They're like family.  We're like one big family," she said.

As a sign of solidarity, several of the relatives have used the photos of the four victims identified so far -- Megan Waterman, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, Amanda Costello and Melissa Barthelemy -- as their profile pictures on Facebook.

All of the families will gather in June when Ela has organized a memorial for the victims on the same Long Island beaches that investigators are now scouring for more bodies and clues.  The memorial will be held on the day her daughter disappeared, June 11.  Her daughter left behind a four-year-old daughter.

"I wanted to go where they found my daughter to pay my respects and say my final goodbye to her.  Part of me doesn't feel closure until I can go down there and say my goodbye down there.  I owe that to my daughter and all the other women," Ela said.

Suffolk County police, who are being assisted by Nassau County cops as well as state police and the FBI, have been tight lipped about the investigation.  ABC News has learned that at least one of the victims died by "homicidal asphyxiation," which could mean strangulation or being smothered.

Investigators also are not clear whether one killer is responsible for all of the bodies being found or whether the area is a burial ground for a serial killer and that other murders have been dumped there as well.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Cops: Long Island Bodies May Be from More than One Killer

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The heavily thicketed ground that borders a highway along a stretch of New York beaches where as many as 10 bodies have been found is now being examined as the disposal site for a serial killer and a possible dumping ground for other killers.

More bones were found Monday along the Long Island beaches and have been sent to the medical examiner's office to determine whether they are from one or two people. One of the remains is just a skull.

Authorities involved in the painstaking probe along the popular stretch of public beach now involves more than 125 state, federal and local investigators from two neighboring counties.

Investigators have said they believe that a serial killer was responsible for the murders, and Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said Monday that police are looking for "the animal that has obviously taken the lives of a number of people."

But probers now say that they cannot rule out the likelihood that more than one killer will be linked to the bodies, which total seven sets of adult human remains, a toddler's remains and the bones found Monday that may be from one or two people.

"Now the question is connectivity," one law enforcement supervisor told ABC News. "Geographically it is secluded and makes a perfect dumping ground."

According to authorities, any differences in the method of murder, disposal, burial, and any DNA evidence will be among the elements of a rigorous forensic examination. The probe will include the assistance of state police and FBI agents including evidence collection experts, behavior science investigators and profiling gurus.

According to multiple sources familiar with the investigation, a number of persons are under investigation in connection with the first eight corpses, and those include persons of interest with a law enforcement or emergency service background and familiarity with the beach. All of those who were described to ABC News were local suspects. They were under examination for any role in the killing of some or all of the victims.

The corpses were strewn along a several-mile stretch that includes state-run and county beaches. The stretch begins about 45 minutes from Manhattan and includes the popular Jones Beach State Park.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Long Island Serial Killer Taunts Victim's Teen Sister

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A teenager who received a taunting phone call from a man who is believed to have killed her sister and at least seven other people said Monday the man claims he is not done killing and she fears he may now come after her.

"I just don't understand why he chose many other girls and how many other families...why was I chosen, why was I taunted?" she told ABC News Monday.  The teenager was shown in silhouette and spoke on the condition that she not be identified out of growing fears for her safety.

Her older sister, Melissa Barthelemy, disappeared in July 2009.  Her body was found in December on Gilgo Beach in New York's Long Island area along with the bodies of three other women.  All found women were prostitutes who advertised on Craigslist, police said.

Four more bodies were found earlier this month, including what the New York Post claims may be the body of a child.  Those victims have yet to be identified.  In addition, police are still searching for the body of Shannan Gilbert, a woman who also advertised sexual services on Craigslist and was last seen near Gilgo Beach.

The search for bodies has expanded from Long Island's Suffolk County to the beaches in the adjacent Nassau County.  In addition, State Park Police and the FBI, including the FBI's behavioral analysis team, have joined the dragnet for bodies and analysis of clues.

Sources told ABC News there are multiple suspects who may be linked to the Long Island bodies.

Barthelemy's sister said she was just 15 when she received the first in a series of calls from the man believed to be the killer.  The calls eerily came from her sister's cell phone.  The man sounded calm, despite his angry words, the teenager said.

"They were very taunting and angry words," she said.  "[It was] very scary.  My heart would stop and I just didn't know what to do.  I'm scared of my own protection, the fact that he's calling my phone... I have to be worried about is that going to happen to me one day?"

She said that it was frustrating because the man would allow her to ask a few questions about her missing sister's whereabouts.

The girl also said she believes the man isn't done with his killing spree.

"If he's doing that many murders he's not going to stop, he obviously enjoys it and he's sick in the head," she said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Long Island Serial Killer Possibly An Ex-Cop?

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Police are considering the possibility that the serial killer who has dumped at least eight bodies along a Long Island barrier beach may be an ex-cop or other law officer, law enforcement officials familiar with the case said.

The possibility that the killer could be a former law enforcement official or other person with knowledge of law enforcement techniques is being considered based on evidence that the suspect may understand investigators' procedures, they said.

Numerous people with possible links to the four slain women who have been identified have come to the attention of police since the investigation began, the officials said.

Police are also looking at people who have had regular or routine access to the beach where the bodies were found, they said.

Investigators are also exploring possible links to the serial killer who murdered prostitutes in New Jersey, they said.

According to one investigator familiar with the case and the behavior of serial killers, this appears to be an organized serial killer who plans methodically is probably above average intelligence. It appears that the killer usually lures people, then kills them in one place and disposes of the body in another, the investigator said. This sort of killer is often social -- not a loner -- with family, friends and what would appear to be a normal life, the investigator said.

It was the disappearance of a prostitute that led New York police to stumble on the serial killer's ocean-front dumping ground in western Suffolk County.

Shannan Gilbert, 24, disappeared in May 2010 after arranging online to meet a client for sex. Her disappearance triggered a search in the scrub brush along Gilgo Beach, a popular summer getaway spot, but much less frequently visited in the winter.

In December police found four skeletal bodies, all of them women and all of them prostitutes, but none were Gilbert. Last week, cops found another four bodies. Those bodies have not been identified, but Suffolk County Police said Tuesday that none of the remains belonged to Gilbert.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Shannan Gilbert Not Among Eight Bodies Linked to Long Island Beach Serial Killer

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A missing prostitute whose disappearance led New York police to stumble on a serial killer's dumping ground on a secluded beach is not among the eight bodies who investigators have found and identified, police said Tuesday.

Shannan Gilbert, 24, disappeared in May 2010 after arranging online to meet a client for sex. Her disappearance triggered a search in the scrub brush along a remote beach halfway between New York City and the Hamptons, a popular summer getaway spot.

In December police found four skeletal bodies, all of them women and all of them prostitutes, but none were Gilbert. This week, cops found another four bodies. Those bodies have not been identified, but Suffolk County Police said Tuesday none of the remains belonged to Gilbert.

Cops obtained DNA samples of Gilbert's family last year and were able to quickly check the remains against those samples.

The police conclusion suggests that Gilbert is possibly a ninth victim of the serial killer.

"The search of the area will continue tomorrow," Suffolk County police said in a statement Tuesday. Cops in rain slickers searched the brush along Gilgo Beach again Tuesday looking for the bodies of more women potentially killed and dumped in the thick vegetation, while other detectives are working to create a profile of the man who is stalking prostitutes online and killing them.

Suffolk County police are keeping a tight lid on many of the investigation's details, commenting publicly only on the search efforts -- the canine units with cadaver sniffing dogs, and a dozen police recruits from the academy brought in to help search for bodies.

Experts outside the investigation consulted by ABC News said cops are compiling a vast database of clues and working up a profile of a single serial killer suspected of killing at least eight women, most of them prostitutes, and dumping their bodies on Gilgo Beach over four years.

The deaths are likely the result of a single killer who knows the area well, said Brad Garrett, an ABC News consultant and former FBI agent who has investigated dozens of high-profile cases, including the death of Washington intern Chandra Levy and the 2001 anthrax mailings.

Police would not confirm the genders, ages or identities of the newly discovered bodies. They would not comment on the level of decomposition or whether these bodies, like the others, were wrapped in burlap.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio