Sketches, photos released in Gilgo Beach case

September 20, 2011 2:24:33 PM PDT
Authorities have released new details about ten bodies discovered on Gilgo Beach. Police are taking new steps to identify some of the victims, and hopefully track down at least one killer.

The remains of as many as 10 bodies have been unearthed in the sands in and around Gilgo Beach. Five of them have been identified as missing prostitutes. Now, police have released sketches and photos, hoping to identify the other victims.

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer released the information at Suffolk County police headquarters in Yaphank on Tuesday.

"The investigation hasn't stalled," Dormer insisted to reporters. "We're making progress. It's a slow, methodical process. This is not a television show where everything is solved in an hour."

Authorities released two composite drawings of a man and a woman, offering a first look at some of the five still unidentified people whose remains were found along Ocean Parkway.

The first sketch is Jane Doe # 6. Her skull and hands were found along Ocean Parkway. Her remains are believed to have been there since the late summer or fall of 2000. They were matched to other body parts found in a town 45 miles east in November 2000.

The other sketch was an Asian man whose body was discovered dressed in women's clothes. His remains may have been there five to ten years.

Police also have photographs of jewelry and clothing found near the remains of a toddler and a woman, possibly the toddler's mom. Investigators said they made a DNA match between the woman and the infant even though they were found seven miles apart.

Dormer said the jewelry, which included earrings and bracelets, was unremarkable and probably could have been bought at any number of retail stores in the New York area or elsewhere.

The hope is that something will spark a moment of recognition, and perhaps someone will be able to put a name to a face drawn from months of forensic research.

"We're hoping by having this press conference and getting the message out to the public that somebody will recognize somebody and that will be a break in the case, because when we do get them identified it does help with the investigation," Dormer said.

Body parts have been found in four separate locations stretching over a wide section of eastern Long Island. No suspect has been identified.

"There could be one, there could be more killers," Dormer said. "We don't know."

The investigation started last December with a missing persons report for Shannan Gilbert, a Jersey City prostitute on call to a beachfront home.

There is still no trace of her.

Authorities have identified five of the victims as prostitutes and Dormer repeated a plea for people working in the sex trade to come forward with any information that might help in solving the case. At least four of the women were last seen leaving to meet with a client.

"During the past several years, it is believed one or more individuals have murdered young women working as escorts," Dormer said at the briefing.

On Tuesday, police said remains from one of the unidentified victims were matched by DNA to body parts found in 1996 on Fire Island, which is at least 30 miles from the parkway dumping ground.

Press reports from April 1996 indicate that two severed legs were found on the shores of Davis Park, on Fire Island, by two seasonal residents walking along the beach. The toenails of one foot were painted red and the right leg had 3 1/2-inch scar on the rear calf and L-shaped scar on the shin. The left leg had a 3 1/2-inch scar on the inner side.

Dormer said police were still working to develop a sketch of that victim.