Gilbert's mother says she'll wait for autopsy results before believing her daughter has really been found.
"Until I hear positive confirmation that it's my daughter, I'm not going to believe it. Not until I know for sure," Mari Gilbert said.
The discovery came more than 19 months after Gilbert's disappearance.
During that time, the search for Gilbert led to the discovery of 10 bodies left near Gilgo Beach, apparently by a serial killer. Tuesday marked one year since the hunt for the killer began.
Police do not believe Gilbert was one of the killer's victims, but think she may have accidentally drowned.
Suffolk County Police Commissioner Police Commissioner Richard Dormer said searchers found the bones at around 9:15 a.m. in a dense wetland thicket, about a half mile from where Gilbert, 24, disappeared after meeting a client for an early-morning sexual encounter.
"It's certainly a sad day for the Gilbert family," Dormer said. "And our condolences to that family on the death of their daughter."
The remnants were found by homicide detectives about a quarter mile from where authorities discovered Gilbert's pants, shoes, pocketbook with ID and other personal items last week, also in the thicket. On Tuesday, they were searching on an aluminum amphibious vehicle equipped with pontoons that can maneuver over land and water when they came upon the remains.
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