New clues possibly found in Gilgo Beach search

December 6, 2011 7:55:46 PM PST
A police car blocked the entrance to Oak Beach homes Tuesday night and to the area on the beach they searched again.

Police will not confirm that they found items directly linked to Gilbert - personal items that identified her. In fact, they haven't even told her mother what if anything they found.

Shannan Gilbert was a prostitute who advertised on Craig's List. She left a customer's home last December and hasn't been seen since.

Police were looking for her when they found the bodies of four other women in nearby Gilgo beach, though police now believe Gilbert's case is unrelated to the others. In all, ten sets of dismembered human remains have been found in the area, believed to be the work of a single serial killer who dumped his victims bodies there.

Police searched the area for the second straight day on Tuesday, taking advantage of a low tide that left areas exposed that had been underwater. They will be back on Wednesday. Police believe Gilbert's body is in the area, but that it might require heavy equipment to find it.

Gilbert's Mother says she still believes her daughter was murdered, though it's not at all clear police still believe that.

Souces said it is possible Gilbert was a victim of cold water and strong currents after possibly falling in to the water.

On the night of her disappearance, witnesses told police Gilbert did not appear to be acting rationally. She was last seen in May 2010 apparently running from someone near today's search area.

Tuesday's search, which included putting divers in the water, was not based on any new tip.

Warm weather and low water provided conditions that made it possible to walk through the high weeds and into the muck. v "Even with that, it was still exhausting," said one Suffolk County official involved in the effort. The renewed effort began Monday under FBI direction and using information gleaned from past FBI flyovers with sensitive photography equipment able to see down through ground cover.

Dive team officers donned wet suits for weather protection, even though the swamp water itself often only came up to their ankles.

Canine search teams were part of the search, but the conditions were so hostile that often the handlers worked without their dogs.

Rabbit and seagull carcasses were found, but no human remains. Based on the belief that Gilbert may have wandered into the swamp, the search will continue.