The Suffolk County District Attorney is disputing the police commissioner's theory that the 10 sets of remains discovered along a desolate stretch of Long Island beach are victims of one serial killer.
"The facts don't bear out the single killer theory," District Attorney Thomas Spota testified before the county legislature's Public Safety Committee on Thursday.
After initially saying the homicides appeared to be the work of more than one individual, Police Commissioner Richard Dormer posited two weeks ago that one killer was responsible -- a theory he reiterated at Thursday's hearing.
Spota called the police commissioner's comments "disturbing" and maintained his earlier claim that there could be as many as three killers.
He insisted there is no evidence all the victims are associated with the "sex trade," as the police commissioner has suggested.
"We haven't even identified all the victims," Spota said.
Five of the 10 victims have been identified thus far. Four of the bodies were discovered near each other off Ocean Parkway, each wrapped in a burlap sack, while police searched for a missing woman in the area last December. All four of those victims were women who advertised escort services on Craigslist.
The fifth identified victim was Jessica Taylor, another prostitute. She was dismembered, with parts of her remains discovered in Manorville in 2003 and her head and hands found off Ocean Parkway earlier this year.
An unidentified male police believe dressed in women's clothing was among the victims found earlier this year, as was an unidentified toddler. The toddler was found near the remains of an unknown female.
Spota explained he was blindsided by the commissioner's "single killer" theory when it was made public two weeks ago.
"He and I have never discussed that," said Spota.
Police discovered the 10 sets of remains while they searching for missing Jersey City resident Shannan Gilbert. Gilbert, also a sex worker who advertised her services on Craigslist, vanished in May 2010 after fleeing a client's house in the gated community of Oak Beach.
Police believe they recovered her remains in a marshy area on Tuesday, near where she was last seen. A medical examiner must positively identify the remains.