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Long IslandSuffolk

Police say remains not missing N.J. woman

Homicide detectives and crime lab investigators probe area

Homicide detectives and crime lab investigators probe area where bones were found west of Cedar Beach, March 30, 2011. Photo Credit: James Carbone

The remains found off a South Shore barrier beach road are not the Jersey City woman police again went in search of this week, officials said Thursday.

Suffolk police said the county medical examiner's office determined that Shannan Gilbert, 24, could not be the remains found Tuesday.

As with the previous skeletons, the medical examiner office will do a DNA analysis, a process that could take weeks, a law enforcement source said. No determinations have been made on its gender or age, or how long the remains were in the heavy underbrush on the north side of Ocean Parkway.

When four women were discovered late last year in the Gilgo Beach area, investigators said they used Gilbert's medical records showing a metal implant in her jaw to determine that she was not among them.

Gilbert's disappearance nearly a year ago prompted a December search that led to the discovery of the four women and another search Tuesday that revealed the new skeletal evidence.

After finding the bodies last year, Suffolk and New York State Police canine teams spent two days in December traversing the brush and marshes along 10 miles of Ocean Parkway into Nassau County. Nothing substantive was found.

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer has pledged a new "full scale" search starting Monday.

David Van Norman of the San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner's Department in California and an expert on identifying missing people said Suffolk police have a head start in identifying the remains.

By having fingerprints, DNA or other information from missing persons similar to known victims in place, Van Norman said, police will have an immediate group of possible matches to the remains.

"If you've laid that foundation from missing persons cases, you do have an advantage," he said.

Gilbert was last seen alive on May 1 in Oak Beach, about 4 miles east of the latest discovery.

The four known victims -- Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 25, of Norwich, Conn.; Amber Lynn Costello, 27, who was last seen in North Babylon; Megan Waterman, 22, of Scarborough, Maine; and Melissa Barthelemy, 24 of the Bronx -- all worked as prostitutes and were last seen alive before going to meet clients.

Suffolk police ask anyone with information to contact CrimeStoppers at 800-220-TIPS (8477) or the homicide squad at 631-852-6392; or to go online to With Chau Lam

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