Police: Shannan Gilbert Not Among 4 Bodies Found On LI Beach

A missing New Jersey prostitute was notamong the four women whose bodies were found over the past week ona deserted beach highway in New York, detectives said Thursday.

Investigators believe a serial killer could be responsible forthe deaths. None of the remains, however, are that of ShannonGilbert, who was reported missing in May, Suffolk County Policesaid in a statement.

Police on Long Island discovered the first of the four bodies onSaturday while investigating Gilbert's disappearance. The otherthree were found within a quarter mile of each other on Monday.

Suspicions that the 24-year-old might be among the victims weresparked by revelations that Gilbert was last seen in a privatecommunity about three miles from where the bodies were found.

A man believed to be among the last people to see Gilbertvoluntarily surrendered his SUV to detectives as part of theirinvestigation. Police never identified the man, nor anyone else, asa suspect in either Gilbert's disappearance or the four deaths.

The man, Joseph Brewer, owns a house in Oak Beach, near wherethe bodies were found. He said Thursday that officers had asked himnot to comment on whether his SUV had been returned.

"They have been very generous. And I have been cooperative,too," he said, adding that he'd been drawn into the whole affairby "rumor."

"There's four families missing their four young girls; thoseare the true victims. I feel sorry for them," he said, adding thathe was praying for them and the family of Shannon Gilbert.

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer has said itcould be days or weeks before the bodies are identified. The NewYork City medical examiner's office is assisting withidentification.

He sought to calm community fears at a briefing Thursday.

"I don't want anybody to think we have a Jack the Ripperrunning around Suffolk County with blood dripping from a knife,"Dormer said. "I would say to people, go about your business."

Detectives believe the four women were killed elsewhere and thentaken to the site, a narrow strip of land that divides the GreatSouth Bay from the Atlantic Ocean. A parkway runs through themiddle, connecting Jones Beach State Park with several state- andtown-run beaches to its east.

Authorities have obtained a DNA sample from the mother of amissing Maine woman last seen working as an escort on Long Island.Megan Waterman, who advertised her escort services on the onlineclassifieds site Craigslist, was last seen in June at a Hauppauge,N.Y., hotel. The hotel is about 15 miles from where the bodies werefound this week.

Also Thursday, officers and 10 state police dogs expanded theirsearch of more than 10 miles of Ocean Parkway, where the bodieswere found.

"We want to make sure that we didn't miss anything," Dormersaid.

Meanwhile, Gilbert's disappearance after a bizarre early morningencounter in Oak Beach remains a mystery.

Brewer told Newsday earlier this week that Gilbert had spent anhour at his home in the early morning hours of May 1. A neighborsaid the woman appeared at his door at around 4:45 a.m., apparentlyafter having left Brewer's home.

"I heard screaming at my front door," said Gustav Coletti."She was saying, 'I need help, I need help, they're after me,"'Coletti told The Associated Press. He told the woman he was callingthe police, but she immediately turned around and fled, he said.

A few moments later, a man in an SUV drove past the house andtold Coletti he was looking for the woman. Coletti said the drivertold him they had been at a party and the woman had become upset.

A Jersey City, N.J., Police Department missing persons fliernoted Gilbert is bipolar and is known to use cocaine and marijuana,as well as prescription drugs. She has a small scar under her righteye, tattoo of cherries on her right wrist and a scorpion on herback. Police have spelled her first name as both Shannon andShannan.

Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio told The AssociatedPress Thursday that Gilbert had been arrested in Hoboken, N.J., in2009 on a charge of promoting prostitution, a case that is stillpending.


Associated Press writers Samantha Gross in New York and SamanthaHenry in Jersey City, N.J., contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content