Public safety officials were confronting the terrifying possibility that a serial killer is on the loose in the New York area after four decomposing bodies — one worn to the bones — were found near Jones Beach.
“I don’t think it is a coincidence that four bodies ended up in this area. Certainly we’re looking at the possibility that we could have a serial killer,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer said Tuesday, adding that the FBI is investigating.
Dormer said the bodies – found Saturday and Monday on the north shoulder of Ocean Parkway in Babylon – may have been dumped from a vehicle, possibly over an 18-month period.
Police discovered the first body Saturday while doing training exercises nearby. They had previously combed the area for a missing Jersey City woman, 24-year-old Shannan Gilbert.
Gilbert had been working as a prostitute and set up a rendezvous on Fire Island through a Craigslist ad. She disappeared May 1.
Besides Gilbert, police also are investigating whether one of the bodies could be of Megan Waterman, 22, of Maine. She traveled to Suffolk with her boyfriend in June after placing an escort ad on Craigslist, police said. She was last seen at a hotel in Hauppauge.
Police had questioned her 20-year-old Brooklyn boyfriend and continued to treat the disappearance as a missing-person case.
Three of the bodies were found Monday along the same quarter-mile stretch as the first body. Two of them were reportedly wrapped in burlap.
One of the four bodies was identified as female and two others are likely female as well, police said, with the last still unknown.
Police on Tuesday canvassed the crime scene amid frigid temperatures.
“We’re going to continue to search in this area to find out if there’s any more evidence, forensics, that kind of thing,” Dormer said, “and if there’s possibly more bodies.”
Det. Lt. Gerard Pelkofsky of Suffolk’s Homicide Squad said the remains appear to have been there at least a month. Medical examiners are working to identify the remains through dental records or DNA, which could take weeks.