Suffolk investigators believe human remains recently recovered near Gilgo Beach show significant differences from four others found last year, according to a source with knowledge of the case.
A single set of remains found March 29 and three others recovered Monday -- all still unidentified -- were found deeper into the thickets than the initial group. The source did not elaborate on other differences but described them as meaningful.
The four skeletons recovered in December were later identified as women in their 20s who worked as prostitutes who disappeared between July 2007 and September 2010.
Suffolk police said Friday that detectives have not zeroed in on a suspect in the 4-month-old case.
"No suspects have been identified in the Gilgo Beach homicides," a police spokeswoman said.
Police Commissioner Richard Dormer said this week that detectives had made no definitive link between the burlap-wrapped December discoveries and the more recent finds.
Police searchers located all eight while looking for Shannan Gilbert, 24, of Jersey City. She went missing nearly a year ago in nearby Oak Beach. None of the remains are hers, forensic experts determined.
As the wide-ranging investigation continues, Suffolk police say they are in touch with many law enforcement agencies, including Atlantic City prosecutors who have not solved the murders of four prostitutes found in 2006. There is no sign that police have found links to that case.
The primary focus is a wildlife sanctuary and adjacent land, a dense area of plants and thickets bisected by a road and several thin paths. Dozens of troopers, along with Nassau, state and park police will be involved, accompanied by cadaver dogs. Suffolk homicide detectives will also be on hand.
"I am glad that they are expanding it more," said Gilbert's sister Sherre Gilbert, 23, of the widened search.
The right lanes of Ocean Parkway in both directions will be closed starting Monday morning, officials said. No time frame has been set, although police expect the work will take more than a day.
The New York City medical examiner received the most recent three remains within the past two days, where bone or tissue samples are being prepared for genetic analysis and identification.
"The process has begun, and it's the same as we did for the last four identifications," said Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for that office.
With Matthew Chayes
and Chau Lam