Police Pursue Links Among Scattered Remains

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Greg Cergol reports. (Published Monday, Apr 11, 2011)

    Police are looking for links and connections among the 10 sets of human remains they've found along the Long Island coast since late last year, a puzzling scattering of body parts over several miles of remote beachfront.

    New details have emerged since the investigation moved into Nassau County this week, where a skull and a torso were found on Monday. Those discoveries came after four sets of remains were found along the Gilgo Beach area in Suffolk in recent weeks, adding to the four earlier bodies found in December.

    Authorities confirmed on Tuesday that the latest remains are human.

    The only remains police have publicly linked are the first four findings. Those, they say, are the bodies of four women who all worked as prostitutes and advertised their services on Craigslist.

    Searchers first found those remains while looking for a New Jersey woman who also was a sex worker; Shannan Gilbert, who was last seen visiting a client in Oak Beach, is still missing.

    A source close to the investigation told NBC New York that one of the newest discoveries was a child. It was found wrapped in a blanket, near some adult remains.

    A head was also found in a plastic bag, according to Newsday, citing sources with knowledge of the case.

    Sources also told the paper that the skull and vertebrae found in Nassau on Monday appear to be a woman. Another set of bones -- believed to be human legs -- was found stuffed in a black plastic bag, similar to some of the remains recently found in Suffolk.

    A source has told NBC New York that all the victims found in December were strangled.

    NBC New York has also learned that there are more "dissimilarities than similarities" among the findings, leading police to theorize that there may be no connection between the first four bodies found last year and the remains recovered in recent weeks.

    The FBI's serial killer profiling unit has been assisting on the case, preparing character studies of potential suspects.