Search for Bodies Expands Into Nassau County

Ocean Parkway closed while officials seek clues as to who dumped bodies

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    NEWSLETTERS

    New developments emerge in the investigation into who dumped four female bodies on a desolate stretch of Long Island beach. Former FBI profiler Clint van Zandt explains the case.

    Days into an investigation of what is likely the work a serial killer and Suffolk County Police now know one thing for sure -- none of the four female bodies discovered is 24-year-old Shannan Gilbert.

    Gilbert, a prostitute from Jersey City, was last seen in May near Gilgo Beach. That is the site where the four bodies were discovered.

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    Chopper 4 captures police on video as they search with cadaver dogs for clues as to the identities of the bodies found on a remote Long Island beach.

    "I don't want anyone to think we have a ‘Jack The Ripper’ running around town with blood dripping from his knife," said Richard Dormer the Suffolk County Police Commissioner.

    Officials said they did not find any more bodies in their search of Nassau County, which ended today. Suffolk County PD are working with the FBI and have increased the number of K9 units on the case. Detectives believe the four women were killed elsewhere and then dumped at the site, a narrow strip of land that divides the Great South Bay from the ocean.

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    Four bodies have been unearthed since Saturday, and police continue to comb Suffolk?s Gilgo Beach for answers. The discovery stemmed from a search for Shannon Gilbert, a missing Jersey City prostitute. Police have yet to identify the remains or match them to the missing woman. One lead has cropped up from the personals section of Craigslist. Gilbert went missing in May after answering an ad from a man on Fire Island, about three miles from the area where the bodies were found. John Noel brings us more on the story from Suffolk.

    Signs indicate Ocean Parkway will be closed in both directions from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. as the search area expands west toward the Nassau County border. The parkway connects Jones Beach with several state- and town-run beaches to its East.

    Joseph Brewer, believed to be among the last people to see Gilber voluntarily surrendered his SUV to detectives as part of their investigation. In a press conference on Friday police said he has cooperated with a polygraph test an he nor anyone else has been identified as a suspect.

    Meanwhile, a mother in Maine awaits DNA results to see if her daughter, also a missing prostitute, is among the dead. She says she knows what Gilbert's mother is going through right now.

    "She's probably relieved it's not her daughter but wonders if she's still out there," said Lorraine Ela Waterman.

    None of the bodies have been identified and, according to the Suffolk county medical examiner, it still may take a month to fully check any potential DNA matches in the federal database and as much as a week to determine if any of the bodies are Waterman's daughter, Megan.

    Since the bodies were found in a cluster police think it may be the work of a serial killer. More dogs and more police have entered the search as reactions ripple through the region.

    “When I saw the news about the bodies my heart just broke and I thought here we go again, “says Audacia Ray, a former sex worker.  “When there are a collection of bodies somewhere it's almost always the bodies of sex workers."

    Ray is organizing a vigil on Friday in New York to end violence against sex workers. The 7th annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers will be held at the Metropolitan Church in Midtown Manhattan at 7:30pm on Friday.

    Ray says when she was working she used to screen her johns and always tell someone she trusted where she was going when she went to meet a client.

    "I had some protections in place but you always have that fear that something could happen," says Ray.

    When you work in an illegal profession like prostitution things can go wrong, says Ray and there are few safe places to turn.

    "As many serial killers have stated they think sex workers won't be missed when they disappear," she said.