Nassau County Police pause near a wooded area along the...

Nassau County Police pause near a wooded area along the westbound Ocean Parkway, west of Tobay Beach in Wantagh where the search for human remains continues. (April 14, 2011) Credit: James Carbone

Police cut their way through brush with chain saws near Jones Beach Thursday in search of more human remains but found none, officials said.

Nassau and State Police officers wearing protective gear chopped through dense thickets along Ocean Parkway to 18 scattered locations in and around the wildlife sanctuary at Tobay Beach, spots where a helicopter canvass spotted things that could not be identified.

Among the finds: plastic bags, a tarp and what appeared to be a makeshift shelter, apparently years old.

"Nothing of evidentiary value was found," said Nassau police spokesman Det. Lt. Kevin Smith. On Monday, officers in the opening hours of a ground search in Nassau related to the Gilgo Beach serial killer investigation discovered a human skull, and, separately, a plastic bag of human bones.

They were the ninth and 10th such discoveries on the barrier island since December. It remains unclear if the two discoveries are from the same person, or are connected to previous Suffolk remains.

"There's always a relief that you didn't find any decomposing bodies," Smith said.

Searchers Thursday worked to clear areas of thicket so an FBI aircraft equipped with camera equipment could take high-resolution images in the search for more remains.

The fixed-wing plane crossed over the barrier island yesterday afternoon, officials said, recording high-resolution images from Jones Beach tower to the Robert Moses Parkway at Oak Beach. Other areas with landscape similar to that along Ocean Parkway would also be photographed, officials said.

An FBI helicopter will also be in the air as part of that operation, according to an agency spokesman. The images are not expected to be available for several days, and authorities only plan to resume a ground search if the images warrant it, police said.

To the east, Suffolk police Thursday completed a second day of a water search in Hemlock Cove, and will return to the Great South Bay Friday to continue the search. Police declined to comment on a small object the Marine Bureau removed from the search area in a plastic tub.

Officials said Thursday that the Nassau medical examiner's office had completed its examination of the skull and human bones found this week, which will undergo genetic analysis.

Officials refused to divulge the results. Sources with knowledge of the discovery said the skull appears to be a woman, but too old to be that of Shannan Gilbert, 24.

The Jersey City woman's disappearance a year ago in Oak Beach triggered searches that turned up the skeletons of four women in December, followed by four more remains in Suffolk in March and April. The initial four finds all proved to be young women in their 20s, the suspected victims of a serial killer.

The skull and other bones are to be sent to the New York City medical examiner's office for genetic analysis. All the other remains also are being examined by the city medical examiner.

With Tania Lopez

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