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Long IslandCrime

FBI lends agents, aid to Suffolk police on Gilgo/Ocean Parkway killings case

Five years after the first body was found, on Dec. 10, 2015, Newsday took a comprehensive look at the state of the investigation and caught up with victims' family members. (Credit: Newsday Staff)

Two FBI agents will be assigned to the Suffolk police investigation into the ten sets of human remains found along Ocean Parkway and Gilgo Beach and other bureau staff will provide technical help, Suffolk police officials said Thursday.

Suffolk County police officials announced last month that the FBI will be joining the investigation into the five-year-old case. Officials met this week at the FBI’s Long Island headquarters in Melville to move forward in that partnership, Deputy Police Commissioner Tim Sini said Thursday.

Without giving details, Sini said the FBI will “assist with the technical aspects of the investigation.” Sini said the department is being careful not to divulge too much about the investigation so as to not compromise it.

Sini said, additionally, the FBI will again provide a behavioral science team to do a full profile of the killer or killers and all the department’s case files will be shared with the team.

FBI spokeswoman Kelly Langmesser said she could only confirm the meeting took place and that the bureau will provide assistance.

The update comes almost a month after newly appointed top brass at the department broke a nearly three-year silence on the case to announce the federal partnership and to assure families of victims that the investigation remains active despite the five years that have passed without an arrest.

The FBI has assisted Suffolk police on the case in the past.

In Dec. 2010, shortly after the first four bodies were found, FBI profilers from the Behavioral Analysis Unit of the bureau’s National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime in Quantico, Virginia, helped Suffolk police develop a possible profile. A full profile of the killer was not completed at the time said one law enforcement official involved in the meetings because the Suffolk County district attorney’s office objected to sharing all the case files with the FBI.

A call and email to a spokesman for the district attorney’s office for comment was not returned.

In April 2011, the agency also took aerial photographs of the barrier island and pointed to 90 points of interest that prompted investigators to go back for another search in Dec. 2011. That month, investigators discovered the body of Shannan Gilbert in Oak Beach.

“The FBI was obviously integral in the search phase of the investigation,” said Sini.

The discovery of bodies along Ocean Parkway took place during the search for Gilbert, a Jersey City, New Jersey, woman reported missing in May 2010.

On Dec. 11, 2010, a Suffolk police officer and K-9 partner searching for Gilbert instead discovered the body of Melissa Barthelemy, 24, of the Bronx, in a thicket of bramble in Gilgo Beach.

Two days later, the bodies of Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 25, of Norwich, Connecticut; Megan Waterman, 22, of Scarborough, Maine; and Amber Lynn Costello, 27, of North Babylon were found in that same area. Allincluding Gilbert were sex workers who advertised their services on the internet.

When investigators returned to the area in March that year, they discovered a head, hands and forearm belonging to Jessica Taylor, 20, also a sex worker, of New York City. Taylor was the last victim to be identified. Her torso was found in 2003 in Manorville.

Five of the 10 victims have yet to be identified.

Some of the rest of the unidentified remains have been tied to ones found in 1999 in Blue Point Beach and Manorville in 2000 and 2003.

Some of the finds were body parts; another was an Asian male dressed as a woman, and one was a toddler.

Authorities have said in the past that Gilbert’s death is not related to the others.

The case has sparked conflicting theories even among law enforcement officials on whether police are looking for one or more killers, based on the various conditions of the remains and the identities of the victims.

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