Judge Orders Police to Hand Over 911 Tapes Gilgo-Linked Case

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. Greg Cergol reports. (Published Friday, Feb. 12, 2016)

What to Know

  • Shannan Gilbert was an escort from Jersey City who vanished on Long Island in 2010 after fleeing a client's home

  • The search for Gilbert led to the discovery of 10 sets of remains in the area, nine of which belonged to prostitutes

  • Gilbert's remains were found in 2011, a half mile from where she disappeared. An autopsy was inconclusive

A Long Island judge has ordered authorities on Long Island to hand over tapes from the 911 call the night a New Jersey escort disappeared in a case that led to the discovery of nearly a dozen sets of human remains near Gilgo Beach.

The judge, Sanford Berland, ordered the county to provide the court with the tapes from the night Shannan Gilbert vanished as well as a transmit of the 23-minute 911 call by March 19. He said he'll review the tapes to determine if they can be released to the Gilbert family attorney, John Ray.

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Suffolk County police opposed the release of the 911 call, citing the ongoing investigation. After arguments made in court by Suffolk County and Ray, the judge decided the county hasn't provided sufficient reasons to withhold the tapes from the court.

The attorneys for both sides are due back in court on March 19.

Gilbert, 24, disappeared in May 2010 after meeting a client on Oak Beach. An officer and his cadaver dog on a training mission searching for her seven months later, in December, happened upon what would become, by spring of the following year, the remains of eight women, one man and one toddler. Most of the victims were prostitutes. Some had been dismembered. Several were found in burlap sacks on the side of a highway.

Gilbert's remains were found about a year later in a swamp a few miles away. Investigators have said she likely died of exposure or accidentally drowned in the marsh after running away from the Oak Beach home.

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The medical examiner's autopsy proved inconclusive, though an independent assessment found possible signs of strangulation. Gilbert's mother, Mari, had been fighting to get her daughter's case reopened as a homicide. Mari Gilbert was stabbed to death in 2016. Her daughter Sarra, Shannan's sister, has been convicted. Authorities said she had been stabbed more than 200 times.

The family had also been involved in civil litigation. John Ray, who will be making the arguments Tuesday, has long been their attorney.

Cops have said the other 10 sets of remains may have been the work of a serial killer. No arrests have been made in connection with the other sets of remains found along Ocean Parkway. But prosecutors have said a New York man convicted over the summer in 1990 prostitute murders may be linked to at least one of the deaths.