The New Jersey escort whose 2010 disappearance led to the discovery of 11 butchered bodies on a Long Island beach may have been strangled, a newly released autopsy report found.
The family of Shannan Gilbert announced that an autopsy performed by famed forensic pathologist Michael Baden didn't conclude how the 24-year-old escort died, but noted that she had been the victim of some violence.
"Michael Baden comes to disturbing conclusions," family attorney John Ray said.
Family members said the findings — which showed no evidence Gilbert died of natural causes, a drug overdose or by drowning — should spur authorities to open a murder investigation into Gilbert's death, which has never been ruled a homicide.
"We're demanding they activate a homicide investigation for Shannan Gilbert," Ray said.
The findings' release comes years after Suffolk County medical examiners said the autopsy was inconclusive. Police had suggested Gilbert possibly drowned or succumbed to the elements not long after she vanished in May 2010.
Gilbert was on a call on Long Island and was last seen screaming and running from a home in the Oak Beach complex, where she met her client. Before she disappeared, she called 911 from a client's home and told an operator someone was trying to kill her.
It was during the massive search for Gilbert that authorities discovered 11 sets of human remains believed to be linked to at least one serial killer. The first of those remains was found by a K-9 unit in December 2010.
Nine sets of remains — eight women and a man — belonged to prostitutes, authorities said. Another set of remains belonged to a baby girl. Five of them, including the infant, have not been identified.
Gilbert's remains were found 18 months later, in December 2011, in a marshy area near Gilgo Beach, on the island’s south central shore. The client she was with the night of her disappearance has been ruled out as a suspect in her death.
Gilbert’s family is involved in a civil suit with a doctor who lives on Gilgo Beach. They believe he may know more about her disappearance.
No one has been charged or named as a suspect in the killings. Police don’t believe Gilbert's death is connected to the deaths of the others.
Last month, it was announced that two FBI agents would assist Suffolk County police in their 5-year-old investigation into the human remains found along Gilgo Beach and Ocean Parkway.