Officials: 3 killers dumped beach victims
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At least three killers have used the Gilgo Beach area as a dumping ground for their victims, authorities disclosed Monday.
Investigators said they now face the challenge of tracking down not only a serial killer in the slaying of four women found in December near Gilgo, but also the unrelated cold-case homicides of three other victims. The cases involve:
Two dismembered women whose other remains were discovered in 2003 and 2000 in Manorville, 45 miles away. A head and parts of limbs found in March and April along the beach were theirs. One of the women was identified.
A young Asian man discarded near Ocean Parkway years ago.
An eighth body was that of a girl, 18 to 24 months old, and wrapped in a blanket, who may not be a homicide victim and "very possibly" was hidden at the beach to conceal her death, Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota said at a news conference in Hauppauge.
"It is clear that the area in and around Gilgo Beach has been used to discard human remains for some period of time," Spota said.
"As distasteful and disturbing as that is, there is no evidence that all of these remains are the work of a single killer."
In addition, law enforcement sources said Monday that two sets of remains found April 11 in Nassau County on the western part of the South Shore barrier island are not believed to be from any of the Suffolk County victims -- meaning the remains of at least 10 separate people have been dumped off Ocean Parkway.
Nassau and state police are awaiting the forensic results on the remains found on April 11.
A skull, hands and forearms discovered on March 29 were identified as those of Jessica Taylor, 20, who was killed in 2003. Her torso was found within a week after her death in a wooded area of Manorville near the Long Island Expressway, and partly identified the following year by a tattoo.
Like the women identified in the original cluster of four bodies at Gilgo Beach, Taylor worked as a prostitute, Spota said. But investigators do not believe her death or that of the other, unidentified woman from the Manorville site, is related to the four.
Spota said Taylor and the other woman -- referred to as Jane Doe No. 6 -- were dismembered by the same killer or killers. DNA linked the parts found along Ocean Parkway, including Jane Doe No. 6's right foot, to the torsos and legs left near a Manorville sump discharge basin in 2003 and 2000.
Whoever killed the two women "went to extraordinary lengths to prevent the victims from being identified," Spota said, noting attempts were made to remove a tattoo from Taylor's body. "That is clearly not so with the other remains."
Other undisclosed similarities exist between Taylor and Jane Doe No. 6 that are not apparent in the original four bodies, Spota said. Those women, who disappeared between July 2007 and last September, were discovered wrapped in burlap, sources have said. There was no burlap found with Taylor or Jane Doe No. 6, investigative sources said.
The quiet patch of Manorville woods near Halsey Manor Road and the expressway had previously been used to dump bodies. Two unidentified men were found there in 2000 and 2003, but have no connection to the more recent cases.
The toddler's remains were found on April 4, the same day as the Jane Doe victim and less than 200 feet away. Spota said there was no evidence linking the woman to the child.
"It doesn't make sense," he said, to "lay the body of a related toddler so close by with no evidence of any attempt to conceal any identifying feature of the child."
Another puzzle facing investigators is the case of the Asian man, who appeared to die violently but in a "radically different" manner than the other victims, Spota said. His fully clothed body was placed in the brush off Ocean Parkway an unknown number of years ago by yet another killer.
"There are no characteristics of these remains that are similar" to the others, Spota said.
Still unresolved is the missing person case of Shannan Gilbert, 24, whose disappearance last May set off police searches that turned up the bodies. Suffolk police said Gilbert, who worked as a prostitute, vanished after meeting a client in Oak Beach, a community along Ocean Parkway.
Investigators believe Gilbert is likely not connected to the other bodies. Monday's announcement brought only more frustration for her family. "I feel like I have to close my emotions from time to time," her sister, Sherre Gilbert, 23, said. "How can you go on with life? How can you sit there and enjoy your life and laugh when she is still out there somewhere and nobody knows where she is?"
The original Gilgo Beach victims were identified in January as Melissa Barthelemy, 24, of the Bronx;, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 25, of Connecticut; Megan Waterman, 22, of Maine; and Amber Lynn Costello, 27, of North Babylon. "It's sickening," Waterman's mother, Lorraine Ela, 44, of South Portland, Maine, said about the newest developments. "I don't understand how someone can get a thrill ending someone's life."
A vigil along Ocean Parkway has been scheduled for June 11, said Barthelemy's mother, Lyn, 42, of Buffalo.
"It's frustrating," she said. "I'm hoping they catch this guy before they get anybody else."
With Chau Lam, Tania Lopez and Will Van Sant
Found at Gilgo
A list of remains, in order of their discovery: