Sister demands investigation into Suffolk County PD's handling of Shannan Gilbert case

Kristin Thorne Image
Wednesday, May 18, 2022
Shannan Gilbert's sister demands investigation of Suffolk County PD
Eyewitness News reporter Kristin Thorne spoke Tuesday with a man who identified himself as Joseph Brewer. When she asked him to detail what happened the night Gilbert went missing, he responded, "It's right in front of you. How could you not see it?"

LONG ISLAND (WABC) -- Suffolk County Police are facing blowback from the attorney and family of Shannan Gilbert over last week's claim by the department that she wasn't murdered.

Four days after Suffolk Police said they do not believe Shannan Gilbert was part of the murders of sex workers committed by the Long Island serial killer at Gilgo Beach, Gilbert's sister told Eyewitness News she still believes someone killed her sister.

Police released 911 calls Friday in which Shannan Gilbert, whose remains were found at Gilgo Beach, is heard saying "there is somebody after me."

Sherre Gilbert said she wants an independent investigation into how the Suffolk Police Department handled her sister's investigation.

Gilbert said she does not believe the narrative Suffolk Police detailed last week that they believe Gilbert's death was a tragic accident after she ran into a deep, dark marsh in Gilgo.

"I just don't believe she would run in a drug-induced paranoia and just strip her clothes all the way off, throw her phone down with her clothes and then just keep running naked into the marsh," Gilbert said.

Gilbert said she has yet to listen to the phone call Suffolk Police released last week of Gilbert calling 911 on May 1, 2010.

Shannan Gilbert, a 23-year-old sex worker, had been hired by Joseph Brewer to come to his house in Ocean Beach.

Brewer is heard on the 911 call asking Gilbert's bodyguard to take Gilbert away from his home because she was acting agitated.

Gilbert told the 911 operator calmly in the call that she believed someone was going to kill her. She then ran out of the house.

Sherre Gilbert said she believes someone drugged her sister, causing her to overdose and they disposed of the body.

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John Ray, the attorney for the Gilbert Family, said Gilbert was murdered.

"The evidence of that fact is overwhelming," he said. "And the police department have covered that up for all these years."

Ray points to an autopsy by a medical examiner hired by the family who determined that Gilbert's death was consistent with a death by homicidal strangulation.

The Suffolk County Medical Examiner ruled that her cause of death could not be determined due to the severe decomposition of the body.

Ray also said he is suspicious of why Suffolk Police released the 911 call now after Ray has been fighting the police department in court for years to compel them to release it.

"They need to be challenged about why they hid this and fought me in court all these years to keep this secret," he said.

New Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison said that he was releasing the call now because the department determined that it would not affect the outcome of the investigation and because he wants to have transparency with the public about the investigation.

Harrison said while they believe Gilbert's death was an accident, they will still investigate any tip people bring to them about Gilbert's disappearance.


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