Search For Missing Prostitute Continues At Gilgo Beach

The search for Long Island's serial killer continues to stymy cops.

The FBI and Suffolk County Police Dept. (SCPD) have been analyzing aerial photos for months taken of miles along Long Island's south shore. Yet despite having searched virtually the entire area multiple times, and having more than 90 people of interest identified, search teams came up empty-handed Monday.

Three dozen police officers along with cadaver dogs worked the underbrush in the Ocean, Bay and Wantagh Parkway areas today. This, after 8 months of analyzing aerial photos taken by the FBI of the serial killer's grave sites, and having already searched most of the areas in the now year-long investigation.

Suffolk County Police Department Inspector Stuart Cameron said simply at a press conference called along the side of Ocean Parkway, "No additional items of evidence of significance were found today."

None of the officers, from Nassau County and the State Police would comment when asked if the search has frustrated them. They just repeated the basic facts of the day.

"Every area has been searched to some degree," said Inspector Cameron, referring to areas along Ocean, Bay, and Wantaugh parkways since the searches first began in December, 2010.

While police are looking for breaks in the serial murder case, they are also working to find 24-year-old sex worker Shannon Gilbert, of Jersey City, who disappeared after she was seen fleeing a client's house in a gated Oak Beach community a year and half ago.

It was the search for her that sparked one of the more gruesome finds in Long Island's history, the bodies of 10 murder victims, 8 women, a toddler girl and an Asian man dressed in women's clothing. All are believed to be sex workers. Only half of them have been identified, including Melissa Barthelemy of Buffalo. The shallow grave police discovered her in was just feet from Ocean Parkway's edge. A family attorney says the killer used Melissa's cell phone to taunt her family with 7 calls after murdering her.

Steve Cohen, the Barthelemy Family attorney described the killer. "He is cold. He is very precise, he is very disciplined. And he is the quintessential monster."

The 10 victims, their murders stretching over 15 years, are believed to be the work of just one killer. Suffolk County's Police Chief recently spoke of the excruciatingly slow pace of the investigation. "We are looking at phone records, data records. This is not an episode of CSI, where it all gets wrapped up in an hour. Science takes time, investigations take time," said Police Commissioner Richard Dormer.

Attorney Cohen went even further. "He's getting better and better at it. He's very comfortable doing what he's doing."

In addition to looking for Gilbert, police are trying to track down any additional evidence that could help them find this serial killer. Their investigation now centers around identifying the remaining five victims, whose family and friends could provide police with vital new clues into who the killer is. If only police can unravel those mysteries first.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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