State Police and other investigators examine an object on the...

State Police and other investigators examine an object on the side of the road near Jones Beach in Wantagh. (April 11, 2011) Credit: Jim Staubitser

What's happening with the serial killer investigation along Long Island's South Shore? What's the FBI's role? Are there suspects?

Newsday.com hosted a live chat where reporter Andrew Strickler, who has been covering this story since the first bodies were found in December, answered your questions.

Andrew's answers to more than 30 reader questions are below. To read the latest story on the search, click here.

 


PHOTOS: Latest on search for bodies | LI and U.S. serial killersNotable LI crimes through the years

MORE:  Case summary | Videos | Map of bodies | More coverage

FOLLOW: @AndrewStrickler and @newsday for the latest updates


 

LIVE CHAT TRANSCRIPT:

Andrew Strickler is now online

AS: I'm here, ready for questions.
Thursday April 14, 2011 11:58

Moderator: Our first question comes via Twitter ...
Thursday April 14, 2011 11:59

@MaryMacElveen: @AndrewStrickler Has the FBI's BAU been called in by the police? Re: #LongIsland #serialkiller.
Thursday April 14, 2011 11:59

AS: The FBI has been involved since Feb. but all that early work was based on the first four women.
Thursday April 14, 2011 11:59

AS: Now they have a lot more to do.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:00

User comment, LongIslandFriend:
"Are there any plans to search
Robert Moses as well?"

From Facebook, Barbara Anderson Olsen
Are they going to search the stretch of road that merges off the wantagh pkwy towards the meadowbrook pkwy and boat basins? That area is pretty desolate and overgrown as well. I really hope they catch this person/persons!

Thursday April 14, 2011 12:00

AS: suffolk police were in Robert Moses in December, but the ground was frozen.

AS: That was the same search that missed the four most recent finds.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:01

AS: No word that they're planning to expand the search. It's a tough call: where do you draw the line and stop the search?
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:01

Paul:
Isn't possible that some of the bodys could be unsolved homicides from the past?
Ocean Parkway was Constructed in the early 1930's. So I'm assuming the last time the area been search was when the Parkway was being constructed.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:02

AS: Is it possible these are people who have been reported missing, and under suspicious circumstances.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:02

AS: But the police won't consider it a true homicide case unless they have a body, or at least a very good reason to think the missing person was killed.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:03

Mike:
Do the police feel that this outer barrie island is a body dumping ground..for multilpe killers.. Being a bay kid.and surfing and parking my boat at hemlock cove, it always had a funky smell last summer I guess thats why.

Thursday April 14, 2011 12:04

AS: Yes. The best theory right now is that they're looking at more than one killer. However, they don't have IDs on most of the victims, and they can't be more sure until they do.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:06

From Facebook, Cecelia Giresi Rocco
Has the second home approx. five miles from Oak Beach and the multiple vehicles been searched of the guy who Shannan was originally seen running from? Has the car she ran from w/ her driver been located has he been questioned? I'm sure there is plenty of things we aren't supposed to know yet & the police are working hard but these are my questions...

Thursday April 14, 2011 12:06

AS: Yes, Gilbert's driver stayed in Oak Beach after she went missing, and spoke with police then and later.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:07

AS: He said he helped look for her, but left alone after she did not turn up.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:07

James:
Are the police investigating any connection to the mannorville cases?

Thursday April 14, 2011 12:07

AS: The police have been going through lots of old case files, including some on closed cases where they had an arrest. They're also looking at missing persons cases, especially ones of young women who may have worked as prostitutes.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:10

Nan:
is this guy Hackett cleared..? did he or did he not call the home of shannon?

Thursday April 14, 2011 12:10

AS: This case has sparked a lot of rumors, and a lot of suspicion. Police say Hacket was interviewed, and has been helpful.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:11

From Facebook, Taira Martine
I don't understand a child been missing and no one noticing it?? where are the parents of the child ??
User comment, JS5257
"What about the remains they found on Monday of the small child/infant wrapped in a blanket? How is THAT related to the "serial killer"??

Thursday April 14, 2011 12:12

AS: Sadly, there are lots of missing children out there. The hard part for police is trying to link one of those cases to the Gilgo case. There are a couple of missing persons databases, but none are complete.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:14

kate:
do they have a timeline as to when these women actually advertised online and were and does craigslist have info to contribute?

Thursday April 14, 2011 12:14

AS: Most of what we know about their histories at the paper has come from the families themselves.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:14

AS: Some have been more open than others. In most cases, the families knew a lot about their life and have been able to help police as much as they can.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:16

Jackie:
Shannan Gilbert seen running from that man's house and he had nothing to do with it? Does he have an iron clad alibi? Has he been revisited/reinvestigated? Seems very fishy...

Thursday April 14, 2011 12:16

Barbara:
Is Joseph Brewer still a main suspect. Now that he is living back in
West Islip with his mother, it seems the police are making routine drivebys oh the house.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:16

AS: Joe Brewer was on of the last people to see her alive, and was the only person in the house when she arrived. He was a natural place for police to begin.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:17

AS: He allowed the search of his house and car w/o a warrant, and he's been interviewed more than once. We understand he also took a polygraph.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:18

Amy:
Any indication of age or sex for the bodies just found in March and April?

Thursday April 14, 2011 12:19

AS: The best we can say right now according to sources is the child is very young, and two of the other remains are adults. Police say they're still waiting on basics from the Suffolk medical examiner.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:21

kristen:
Do they know if the head that was found belongs to one of the other bosies yet?

Thursday April 14, 2011 12:21

AS: At this point, the only possible connection it could have is to the bones found in Nassau on Monday. But police are out right now, still looking.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:22

From Facebook, Brigid Mcp
How were all 10 killed? How were all 10 left, ie; Bag, burlap?
What is the time between all killings, meaning were they all killed within the last 2 years? 3? How, if anything, are they related?

Thursday April 14, 2011 12:22

AS: The only known causes of death are for the four women, all strangled.
 Thursday April 14, 2011 12:23

AS: However, the presence of bones and other body parts strongly suggests those remains will turn out to be homicide victims.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:24

Claire:
Is it certain that none of the remains found were that of Shannan Gilbert?

Thursday April 14, 2011 12:24

AS: It's certain that the first eight are not her. She had an unusual jaw injury we know helped police exclude her quickly from the initial finds. Police and the medical examiners also have genetic material from her and her family for comparison.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:26

AS: The skull found in Nassau this week is probably not hers -- too old -- but that has not been confirmed.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:27

Guest:
Why did it take so long for police to start searching for Gilbert if she was last seen in the area in May?

Thursday April 14, 2011 12:27

AS: Police say she made a cell phone call but could not say where she was.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:28

AS: That call was routed to a state police dispatcher, based on her approx. location. State police did no respond because they didn't know where to go.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:28

AS: Suffolk police did not respond until a neighbor called 911 from his home phone.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:29

AS: That delay was critical because she could not have gotten far on foot without someone seeing her. But she was gone by the time police got there.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:30

Paul:
Is the case now in
FBI hands?
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:31

Guest:
Does the
FBI, NCPD, NYSP or SCPD contol the case.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:31

AS: Suffolk police are the lead agency. They know the most about the case, they're the most familiar with the area, and they have had the majority of the contact with family members of the known victims.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:32

From Facebook, Phyllis DiVirgilio
It was stated at the start of this inestigation back in December that some of the victims advertised on "
Craigslist" my question is has "Craigslist" been investigated thoroughly or is this a copycat scenario of "The Craigslist" killer up in Mass. the killer hung himself in prison...It was also stated that one of the victim's sister up in Buffalo was getting calls from the cellphone of the victim from a man stating he had killed her sister has that cellphone call been thoroughly investigated as well? I can not understand with all the technology we have today how is that he or she has not been apprehended as of yet?
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:33

AS: Suffolk police say that Craigslist has been helpful. For what it's worth, the site has taken down the "adult services" section where the women advertised.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:34

AS: At least one of the four women was killed before the Mass. case, so it's not likely a copycat. That case got a lot of publicity, but it's far from the only situation where people have used the web to lure victims.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:36

D:
Have the people from the party where Gilbert was last seen been questioned?

Thursday April 14, 2011 12:36

AS: By all accounts, there was no party. It was Brewer and Gilbert in the home. Like I said earlier, this case has started a lot of rumors, and a lot of speculation.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:37

LIpride:
Why is it so hard for the medical examiner to identify the last set of bodies? Dental Records?

Thursday April 14, 2011 12:37

AS: Dental records are useful to identify someone if there are records to compare them to. The ME will take photos and xrays, but they're only useful if they can find a match. Many missing persons police case files don't include dental records.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:39

Lorijean:
Is it possible that Miss Gilbert's death has nothing to do with the other bodies found?

Thursday April 14, 2011 12:40

AS: Yes, it's possible, and without knowing where she is, no one can say for sure she was even killed.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:41

AS: Consider this: Gilbert went missing after two of the four identified women, and just a month before Megan Waterman was last seen alive.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:42

AS: That's a very odd fact if you're trying to link her to those four, who police say were in all likelihood killed somewhere else and dumped in Gilgo.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:43

Laurie:
What made them rule out a connection with the atlantic city killings

Thursday April 14, 2011 12:43

AS: Nothing is ever really ruled out until they have an arrest. The best police can say is, based on everything they know at this point, is there is no clear link. That could of course change.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:45

Maryellen:
Wouldn't it be the easiest to trail the actions of the
North Babylon victim. Time line? Eye witnesses? Possible friends who knew where she was headed.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:46

AS: Easy means police finding people who saw things, and are willing to help. And considering the line of work, that can be difficult.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:47

AS: Consider this: The North Babylon woman, Amber Lynn Costello, was last seen alive in Sept. She was not reported missing until after the four women were found in December.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:48

marion:
For the four prostitutes who are presumed to have been murdered by one serial killer, dont their craigslist ads and communication all link up to a common computer?

Thursday April 14, 2011 12:50

AS: Police aren't revealing that level of detail. But it's not hard to cover your tracks online or through cell phones if you're motivated to. The police know some tricks of course, but that doesn't mean they always work.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:52

Liz:
Of the other four who went missing around the time of Gilbert, are their last known where abouts anywhere near Gilgo?

Thursday April 14, 2011 12:52

AS: The closest is Amber Costello in North Babylon. None of them are known to have any connection to Oak Beach or Gilgo.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:53

Cheechs Mom:
I see that all the bodies were found on the sound / West Bound side. Have Police started looking on the Ocean side of the road?

Thursday April 14, 2011 12:54

AS: They have, but that's a much smaller and easier search area, not too many places on that side to hide anything. I know the police have wrestled with the question of where to stop the search? Do you start looking off the island, even if you don't have anything specific to say there ius anything there?
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:56

Pat:
Is there a connection with Joel Rifkin?

Thursday April 14, 2011 12:56

AS: Rifkin was in prison when all four of the women were killed. But as for the other remains, it's very hard to say. He knows if he did it, but he's not what I'd consider credible.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:57

D:
Were the girls who have been identified all reported missing at some point?

Thursday April 14, 2011 12:58

AS: All but one had been reported missing. Take a look at the coverage of NYPD case involving Barthelemy's cell phone. Costello was reported missing after the Gilgo case began in December.
Thursday April 14, 2011 12:59

Moderator: We have time to take a few more questions ...
Thursday April 14, 2011 1:00

rachel:
Why have they waited so long to ask for the public's help and to do the aerial imagery?

Thursday April 14, 2011 1:01

AS: The police have been asking for help all the way along, and tips are a critical part of the case. I know they've gotten hundreds and hundreds of tips.
Thursday April 14, 2011 1:02

AS: The case's notoriety has drawn in all sorts of information, each has to be looked at, and there are only so many people to do the work.
Thursday April 14, 2011 1:04

Marie:
Have they identified the time of death for any of those found, as being murdered recently?

Thursday April 14, 2011 1:04

AS: No time of death yet on the most recent six remains, and it's not even clear at this point if what they have found so far is nine or ten people. Police believe the four original women were killed soon after going missing, but there are still a lot of unknowns even about them.
Thursday April 14, 2011 1:06

Bernadette:
what is the criteria they are using to assume this is a serial killer? Is it just that they were all strangled and found in the same location?

Thursday April 14, 2011 1:06

AS: It's those things, and a lot more. The women are very alike in a lot of ways, and went missing in similar circumstances. The burlap is also a very unique clue that ties them together.
Thursday April 14, 2011 1:08

Moderator: Thanks Andrew and thanks everyone for joining us in today's live chat. Make sure you check back often for complete coverage of the case. Thanks.

AS: Thanks for all your questions, and let's hope this case gets solved, with no more victims.
Thursday April 14, 2011 1:10