Timeline: Gilgo Beach serial killings investigation

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A timeline of the ongoing investigations in and around the Gilgo Beach area of Long Island's South Shore. The search for bodies, which started with a hunt for a missing woman, Shannan Gilbert, has led police to the discovery of 10 different sets of remains.

Shannan Gilbert goes missing -- May 1, 2010

Shannan Gilbert, left, who, officials said, advertised as

Shannan Gilbert, left, who, officials said, advertised as an escort on Craigslist, was said to have run from the Oak Beach home of a client and vanished. Her disappearance prompts police to do a limited search in and around the beach community. Both the alleged client and Gilbert's driver are interviewed.

First body found -- Dec. 11, 2010

A Suffolk officer working with a cadaver dog
(Credit: James Carbone)

A Suffolk officer working with a cadaver dog finds a skeleton several feet north of Ocean Parkway in Gilgo Beach, about 4 miles west of Oak Beach. A look at the area on Dec. 14, 2010.

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3 more bodies found -- Dec. 13, 2010

A look at the scene on Dec. 13,
(Credit: Jim Staubitser)

A look at the scene on Dec. 13, 2010, after three more sets of remains are located nearby. Like the first, they are wrapped in burlap and left unburied. Police believe the four are likely victims of a serial killer.

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Victims identified -- Jan. 24, 2011

Officials identify the victims as Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 25,

Officials identify the victims as Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 25, of Norwich, Conn.; Megan Waterman, 22, of Scarborough, Maine; Melissa Barthelemy, 24, of the Bronx; and Amber Lynn Costello, 27, of North Babylon. Like Gilbert, the women worked as prostitutes and advertised on Craigslist, authorities said.

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Suspicious phone calls -- January, 2011

In the days after Melissa Barthelemy vanished on

In the days after Melissa Barthelemy vanished on July 12, 2009, a man made six calls from Barthelemy's cell phone to her teenage sister, a law enforcement source told Newsday. New York City police determined the calls were coming from midtown Manhattan, but the caller didn't stay on the line long enough for police to find him.

More remains uncovered -- March 29, 2011

A fifth set of remains is discovered off
(Credit: Jessica Rotkiewicz)

A fifth set of remains is discovered off the parkway, east of the previous finds on March 29, 2011.
 

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More remains found as total rises to eight -- April 4, 2011

Three more sets of decomposed remains are recovered
(Credit: James Carbone)

Three more sets of decomposed remains are recovered on April 4, 2011, bringing the total to eight. Newsday later learns one is a child wrapped in a blanket. Another consists of a human head in a plastic bag. A third shows clear signs of dismemberment.
 

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Expanding their search -- April 6, 2011

State and Nassau police, seen on April 11,
(Credit: James Carbone)

State and Nassau police, seen on April 11, 2011, announce they will search west into Nassau County beginning that day.

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Expanding their search

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Another gruesome discovery -- April 11, 2011

A state trooper finds human bones in a
(Credit: James Carbone)

A state trooper finds human bones in a plastic bag on April 11, 2011, less than 40 feet from Ocean Parkway on state-owned land, about 1.5 miles east of the Jones Beach tower. About four hours later, a Suffolk officer and a cadaver dog find a human skull west of Tobay Beach. A source said a preliminary analysis of the skull suggests it is of a woman, but likely too old to be Gilbert.

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Search continues into Nassau -- April 14, 2011

Investigators extend their search along Ocean Parkway on
(Credit: James Carbone)

Investigators extend their search along Ocean Parkway on April 14, 2011 into parts of Jones Beach to inspect objects that "could not be identified" by helicopter but find found no additional remains.

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Investigators: Bone found not human -- April 19, 2011

Investigators say that a bone discovered earlier in
(Credit: James Carbone)

Investigators say that a bone discovered earlier in the hunt for remains at Oak Beach is not human. This official is seen on April 15, 2011.

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Divers return to water in search -- April 20, 2011

SCPD sent divers into the water on the
(Credit: James Carbone)

SCPD sent divers into the water on the south side of Oak Beach on April 20, 2011, to look for anything of importance to the investigation.

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Three killers used beach to dump bodies -- May 9, 2011

Officials release a statement on May 9, 2011,
(Credit: James Carbone)

Officials release a statement on May 9, 2011, saying that at least three killers have used the Gilgo Beach area as a dumping ground for their victims.

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NYPD denies suspicion of officers as suspects -- May 15, 2011

The NYPD denies claims that a current and
(Credit: James Carbone)

The NYPD denies claims that a current and former officer were under suspicion in the Gilgo Beach killings. (Photo taken: April 18, 2011)

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Families hold vigil -- June 11, 2011

Families of the victims hold a beach vigil
(Credit: Uli Seit)

Families of the victims hold a beach vigil along the barrier island on June 11, 2011. "We want the girls remembered as who they were, not what they did," said Lorraine Ela, the mother of Megan Waterman.

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$25G reward offered for information -- June 16, 2011

Crime Stoppers in Suffolk County offers its largest
(Credit: James Carbone)

Crime Stoppers in Suffolk County offers its largest reward ever -- up to $25,000 -- for information leading to the Gilgo killer. (Photo taken: April 22, 2011)

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$25G reward offered for information

Police hope sketches lead to IDs -- Sept. 20, 2011

Suffolk police unveil new details concerning five victims
(Credit: James Carbone)

Suffolk police unveil new details concerning five victims who remain unidentified, including an artist reconstruction of two of their faces. (Sept. 20, 2011)

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Police revise theory -- Nov. 29, 2011

Nearly a year into their investigation of the
(Credit: James Carbone)

Nearly a year into their investigation of the Gilgo Beach murders, Suffolk police have revised their theory of the case. They now say a single serial killer is probably to blame for the murders of all 10 victims, and the killer is likely a Long Islander.

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Search resumes for missing woman -- Dec. 5, 2011

Investigators from the Suffolk County police and state
(Credit: James Carbone)

Investigators from the Suffolk County police and state police reopened the search for Shannan Gilbert, who investigators said was a 24-year-old sex worker from Jersey City who disappeared last year after visiting a home in Oak Beach.

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Shannan Gilbert's remains found -- Dec. 13, 2011

After investigators had been combing through the marshy

After investigators had been combing through the marshy areas in Oak Beach for several days, police Commissioner Richard Dormer announced that remains were found, and they likely belonged to Shannan Gilbert. They were positively identified by a medical examiner four days later. The Dec. 13 announcement came on the anniversary of the discovery of three sets of remains at Gilgo Beach, which led police to conclude there was a serial killer at work.

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Cause of death undetermined, police say -- May 1, 2012

How Shannan Gilbert died remains a mystery. Two
(Credit: James Carbone)

How Shannan Gilbert died remains a mystery. Two years to the day after the Jersey City woman disappeared, her death has been classified as "undetermined," police say.

On May 1, 2012, Shannan Gilbert's mother, Mari Gilbert, and sister, Stevie Gilbert, embrace outside the Suffolk County medical examiner's office in Hauppauge.

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Shannan Gilbert's family files wrongful-death suit -- Nov. 15, 2012

Two and a half years after Shannan Gilbert
(Credit: James Carbone)

Two and a half years after Shannan Gilbert died in the swamp of Gilgo Beach, her mother filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the last man known to have seen her alive, claiming he drugged her against her will, then let her leave in a helpless condition.

On Nov. 15, 2012, Mari Gilbert, mother of Shannan Gilbert, arrives at state Supreme Court in Riverhead with her lawyer, John Ray, where they announced a lawsuit against Dr. Charles Peter Hackett. formerly an Oak Beach resident.

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No evidence linking man to Gilgo, source says -- Dec. 5, 2012

Suffolk police downplayed the possibility that a Westchester
(Credit: Mount Vernon PD)

Suffolk police downplayed the possibility that a Westchester man who confessed to fatally stabbing three women could be the person responsible for the Gilgo murders. Lucius Crawford, 60, of Mount Vernon, was thrust into Long Island's serial killer case spotlight when New York City police said they had notified Suffolk detectives about Crawford.



Suffolk homicide officials said in a statement, "There does not appear to be any reason to suspect that Crawford has any involvement with the homicides that occurred in the last several years where bodies were discovered in the vicinity of Gilgo Beach."(Dec. 5, 2012)

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Suit filed by Gilbert's mom mostly tossed -- Dec. 19, 2013

A Suffolk judge dismissed much of a lawsuit
(Credit: Nick Kiehl )

A Suffolk judge dismissed much of a lawsuit filed by the mother of Shannan Gilbert, who investigators said was a prostitute whose disappearance at Gilgo Beach led to the discovery of numerous bodies there.

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Shannan Gilbert autopsy finds no drugs, report says -- Dec. 10, 2014

An autopsy on Shannan Gilbert detected no drugs
(Credit: James Carbone)

An autopsy on Shannan Gilbert detected no drugs in her system at the time of the examination, according to a report. The results of Gilbert's autopsy also showed she had the tips of several fingers and toes missing. Parts of a small bone near her throat were also gone. The autopsy found the cause or manner of Gilbert's death to be "undetermined."

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Shannan Gilbert funeral -- Mar. 12, 2015

Shannan Gilbert is laid to rest at Amityville
(Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

Shannan Gilbert is laid to rest at Amityville Cemetery at a funeral attended by Gilbert's mother, sisters and nephews after a private autopsy was completed.

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