The relative of a dead escort whose body was among the four discovered wrapped in burlap sacks on a remote Long Island beach received snide calls from a person using her missing sister's cell phone prior to her death, according to a published report.
Police say most of the calls, which referred to 24-year-old Melissa Barthelemy from the Bronx as a "whore," came from the Midtown area, near Madison Square Garden and Times Square, according to the Daily News.
Cops aren't sure whether the caller is the same man suspected in the murders of Barthelemy and three other women – one from New York, one from Connecticut and one from Maine – who all had posted Craigslist ads for escort services prior to vanishing.
Police managed to trace the calls back to the Midtown area but couldn't pinpoint an exact location because the caller hung up too quickly, reports the News.
Meanwhile, the families of the other dead girls continue to mourn their losses.
Investigators didn't reveal the exact cause of death for the four women, but it appeared each woman was killed at an unknown location, then dumped at the beach.
A police task force is working the four homicide cases. The general public should not be concerned, investigators said; but those in the prostitution business were warned to be on guard and urged to call police with any pertinent information that might help catch the person or persons responsible.
Investigators say their line of business was directly connected to their murders – and police haven't ruled out the possibility that more women may have been killed.
"We will return to the beach and continue our search in the spring," said Suffolk police commissioner Richard Dormer. "We still have to account for Shannon Gilbert," he added, referring to the missing Jersey City woman who has not been seen since last May.
It remains unclear if Gilbert's disappearance is linked to this serial killer case.