Investigators have matched through DNA a woman’s torso found in Nassau County 19 years ago to skeletal remains believed to be those of two victims — a mother and daughter — of the Gilgo Beach serial killer or killers, newly released documents show.
The Nassau County medical examiner’s office matched DNA from the unidentified torso, known to investigators as “Peaches,” to partial skeletal remains from the same body found at Jones Beach State Park in 2011. It was one of 10 sets of remains believed to be the work of one or more serial killers in the Gilgo Beach area, according to a report in NamUs, a national database of missing and unidentified people.
Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy Sini on Wednesday confirmed the DNA match, which was made about two years earlier but only became public through the database, but said he could not provide further details, citing the ongoing investigation.
Suffolk police have said the remains found at Jones Beach on April 11, 2011, identified by investigators only as Jane Doe No. 3, are believed to be the mother of Baby Doe, a girl between the ages of 1 and 4 years old, whose remains were found near Cedar Beach on April 4, 2011.
The DNA link marks the first major development made public in the case in recent years on the six-year anniversary of the 2010 discovery of the first set of remains in the Gilgo killings.
Sini stressed that the department is working with the FBI to solve the case. “It is a partnership, a true partnership,” said Sini, adding that he met with the FBI on Tuesday to discuss the case, among other things. “We have two full-time detectives working on this case, working hand-and-hand with the FBI.” Nassau acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter declined to comment on the link.
The still unidentified woman has been referred to as “Peaches” by investigators because of a tattoo of the fruit on her chest. Two gold bracelets were found on Peaches’ extremities at Jones Beach, according to the case report, and a 16-inch gold-colored chain and two gold-colored hoop earrings were on her daughter’s remains. A hiker discovered the woman’s torso June 28, 1997, in Hempstead Lake State Park in Rockville Centre while on an outing with his children. It was stuffed into a large, black garbage bag that had been placed in a plastic container and dumped in the woods, police have said.
The heart-shaped peach tattoo on the woman’s chest, investigators told Newsday in 2007, was traced by Nassau homicide detectives to a tattoo parlor in Bristol, Connecticut, where the inker told police he recognized his work but couldn’t remember much about the customer.The Gilgo investigation began on Dec. 11, 2010, when Suffolk police searching for missing New Jersey sex worker Shannan Gilbert instead found the body of Melissa Barthelemy, 24, in a thicket of bramble in Gilgo Beach.
Barthelemy’s body was the first of 10 found in the area. Five of the 10 victims have never been identified. Investigators believe that Gilbert, whose body was later found, was not a victim of a serial killer.
The first four bodies were those of women in their 20s who worked as prostitutes and were found within a quarter of a mile from each other. The victims had been reported missing between 2007 and September 2010.
With Mark Morales