Victims' kin shocked over Dormer-Spota spat

Melissa Cann, left, sister of Maureen Brainard Barnes Melissa Cann, left, sister of Maureen Brainard Barnes and Lorraine Ela, mother of Megan Waterman, at Oak Beach. (Dec 12, 2011) Photo Credit: James Carbone

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Relatives of the Gilgo Beach victims said Thursday they were upset at the public dispute between Suffolk's top law enforcement officials and divided over whose theory in the case made more sense.

Melissa Cann, sister of victim Maureen Brainard-Barnes, called the disagreement between District Attorney Thomas Spota and Suffolk Police Commissioner Richard Dormer "shocking" and "mind-boggling."

In testimony to Suffolk legislators, Spota said he believed multiple killers are responsible for the 10 deaths in the case, while Dormer stood by his single-killer theory.

"It is not comforting to know our district attorney is disagreeing with our police commissioner," Cann said. "Our focus is trying to find this person, not disagreeing with each other."

Leaning toward Spota's view, she added, "I always kind of had a feeling the four original girls were connected -- wasn't sure exactly about all of the 10 connected."

Lynn Barthelemy, mother of victim Melissa Barthelemy, said, "I just think they have no clue as to what the heck is going on and they're just going to start fighting with each other. I just think they all need to work together and figure out who this maniac is and catch him."

She said she found Dormer's theory plausible, since the victims -- or at least some of their remains -- were found in the same general area.

Lorraine Waterman Ela, the mother of victim Megan Waterman, welcomed Spota's statement and said she agreed with his assessment.

"I know it's not just one person" behind the 10 deaths, she said. "There's no way.

"I'm glad somebody is finally standing up to Dormer, because people haven't been. They've been going on what he says."

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