As Search Expands into Nassau County, More Remains Found

By Greg Cergol and Tracie Strahan
|  Tuesday, Apr 12, 2011  |  Updated 6:59 AM EDT
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Greg Cergol reports.

Greg Cergol reports.

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Authorities expand their search for more remains after eight bodies are discovered on a remote stretch of Long Island beach.
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Investigators searching for possible serial killer victims in Long Island found more remains that appeared to be human, including a skull, as the hunt expanded into Nassau County on Monday.

A state trooper with a cadaver dog discovered bones on the north side of Ocean Parkway early Monday afternoon. A skull was then found later in the day near a bird sanctuary. The remains have been sent to the Nassau County medical examiner.

A source with knowledge of the search told NBC New York the remains appeared to be human. The medical examiner is expected to make the final determination.

Before Monday, eight sets of human remains had been found since December along a desolate stretch of coastland just over the Suffolk County line. Four were discovered in the last few weeks, and another possible two sets were found in the expanded Nassau search area on Monday.

The first four victims were identified as women in their 20s who posted sex ads on Craigslist. The other four have yet to be identified.

However, a source close to the investigation told NBC New York some of the newer bodies may not fit the pattern of the others, meaning the recently found victims may not be the bodies of sex workers and may have been dumped years earlier.

The source reiterated that there are more "dissimilarities than similarities" between the first four bodies and the last four. This raises the possibility that there is no connection between the two groups of four.

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said Monday that state and local police were committed to finding the person or persons responsible for the remains found dumped along the beachfront.

"We want to bring to justice this animal who has taken the lives of so many," Mangano said.

Gray skies and a thick fog made for an eerie setting Monday as authorities expanded their search into Nassau County. About 125 officers and troopers from Nassau police, state police, state parks police and Suffolk police combed both sides of Ocean Parkway near Jones Beach, trudging through thick underbrush.

 A large pond in the area may also be dragged for bodies, according to police.

"There's no evidence of criminality here in Nassau," said Nassau police Detective Lt. Kevin Smith.  "But if there's a corpse out here, we want to find it.  We'll search as diligently as we can."

Electronic signs warn drivers to expect closures along the stretch of Ocean Parkway until the search ends for the evening at 7 p.m.

The grisly findings in December were the result of a search initially launched to find Shannan Gilbert, a missing 24-year-old from Jersey City who had also advertised her services on Craigslist and was last seen fleeing from the doorstep of a home on Oak Beach.

Police have not yet determined whether the four sets of remains found in recent weeks are linked to the first four bodies found in December.

Authorities have remained tight-lipped about the ongoing investigation into the possible serial killer.

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