In Gilgo murders probe, Suffolk cops reach out to websites

A marker near the spot where one of A marker near the spot where one of the bodies was found along Ocean Parkway near Gilgo Beach. (Oct. 10, 2011) Photo Credit: James Carbone

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Suffolk police are reaching out to online publications geared toward the law enforcement community in pursuit of information on the five bodies discovered in the Gilgo Beach investigation that remain unidentified.

They're providing the information to websites frequented by law enforcement but also read by a wider audience, said Det. Sgt. Thomas Groneman, a lead investigator on the case.

The information includes photos of jewelry worn by a female victim and toddler who may have been her daughter, reconstructive facial drawings of a female victim that, like the five bodies identified so far, police suspect may have been a prostitute, and an Asian man found in female clothes. The presumed homicide victims were found along the South Shore last spring.

Suffolk police released the same information to local news media on Sept. 20, but Groneman said going to the law enforcement websites allows him to reach interested readers across the country and, hopefully, that will produce a tip that will lead to a body being identified.

"Once we identify these victims," Groneman said, "and we are pretty confident we will, we can start going back over their lives to see why they ended up where they ended up."

The website policeone.com published the information and an interview with Groneman Friday. Groneman said several similar sites have also been contacted and he expects them to publish the information soon.

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Investigators have been going through tips that came in following the release of information in September. Groneman said there have been cases where people came forward to say the sketches resembled missing persons they had known.

Such specific tips -- actual names -- are a boon to investigators because they can often be confirmed or ruled out quickly, he said. So far, Groneman said, none of the names investigators have been given has been linked to the unidentified bodies. Not all tips have been fully exhausted and Groneman is hopeful.

"It only takes one," he said.

Artists are working on a third sketch of a woman whose severed legs were found on Fire Island in 1996 and whose skull was found April 11 near Jones Beach. Groneman said he expects the image to be released within two weeks.

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