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Gilgo search: No new evidence found

An officer from the Suffolk County Police K-9

An officer from the Suffolk County Police K-9 unit searches for Shannan Gilbert and clues that might lead to a suspected serial killer in the area around Gilgo Beach on Dec. 5, 2011. Photo Credit: James Carbone

An extensive South Shore search Monday turned up no new evidence in the Gilgo Beach serial killings or any clues into the disappearance of a Jersey City woman.

In heavy fog, seven teams from state, Nassau and Suffolk police forces used search dogs as they looked at "90 points of interest" stretching from Captree State Park in Suffolk to Jones Beach in Nassau.

The search, which took about six hours, used high-resolution photographs taken in April during an FBI flyover.

"Nothing new or significant was found today," Insp. Stuart Cameron, commanding officer of Suffolk police special patrol bureau, told reporters at a 3 p.m. news conference.

"Every area of interest has been searched to one degree or another," he said.

Investigators Monday pored over the section of thick underbrush looking for evidence that could be linked to a serial killer who Suffolk Police Commissioner Richard Dormer said is likely to blame for the killings of 10 victims dating back to 1996.

Police said later that they have no immediate plans for further searches for Shannan Gilbert, 24, the Jersey City sex worker who vanished in May 2010 after visiting the Oak Beach home of a man who answered her ad on Craigslist. She was last seen running from the house.

Police think the location is a coincidence and unrelated to the serial killer victims found nearby.

Cameron did not rule out further searches.

He told reporters, "We have no reason to believe" that there are any more human remains in the search area, "but we're trying to be thorough in our search.

Assistance was offered to us by the FBI for the photo flight and this is the culmination of that assistance."

A Suffolk County police spokeswoman said earlier that investigators waited until several frosts had thinned out thick vegetation, including poison ivy, before attempting the search.

Police conducted a search of 11 areas in June, based on a tentative examination of the FBI photos, but found nothing. Investigators gave no indication of what features in the photographs raised their interest -- whether it might be something about the terrain, or objects that could not be identified from photos alone.

The latest search comes almost a year after the scope of the current case began to emerge on Dec. 11, 2010.

That was when Suffolk Police Officer John Mallia and his dog, Blue, found the remains of a body while doing a training exercise on a Saturday afternoon on the side of Ocean Parkway between Cedar and Gilgo beaches.

By late that Monday, three more sets of remains had been found.

A total of 10 sets of remains have been found to date in and around Gilgo Beach.

Last week, Dormer told Newsday that investigators do not believe Gilbert is a victim of that serial killer.

However, the police spokeswoman said the commissioner received information from the detective division last week indicating there is a "possibility" Gilbert may be dead -- her body dumped along the road in the same area.

Just five of the victims have been identified and all of those victims have been described by police as sex workers.

Police said the victims include eight women, a female toddler and a man found in women's clothing.

Four of the bodies were found at Gilgo Beach, another east of Gilgo along the Ocean Parkway.

The head, hands and right foot of one Jane Doe were found along the Ocean Parkway.

Police said earlier searches found that victim's torso in Manorville in 2000.

The head of another woman found near Jones Beach was matched to a pair of severed legs found in Davis Park on Fire Island in 1996, while additional female bones were found in a plastic bag east of Zach's Bay on April 11, police said.

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