'Eyewitness to Gilgo Beach' Chapter 5: Finding Shannan Gilbert

'Eyewitness to Gilgo Beach' is a documentary series about the serial killings and the arrest of Rex Heuermann

Saturday, January 27, 2024
Chapter 5: Finding Shannan
Go behind the scenes with New York's number one news team as Eyewitness News tells the convoluted and downright creepy story of the search for a serial killer near Gilgo Beach.

LONG ISLAND, New York (WABC) -- After a year and a half of searching, investigators found Shannan Gilbert in December 2011.

Nineteen months after she vanished, Suffolk County Police found her skeletal remains on Gilgo Beach.

"What was the ultimate stunner in all of this is that they believed -- and still do believe -- that Shannan Gilbert was not murdered. That Shannan Gilbert died in an accidental drowning," recalled Eyewitness News report Josh Einiger.

"Shannan's death is controversial in this entire story. The police department stands firmly behind the fact that they have done all of their investigative work and that they believe she died of an accidental drowning. And they are going to maintain that," said Eyewitness News investigative reporter Kristin Thorne.

A few years later, Shannan Gilbert's mother, Mari Gilbert, who is credited for the discovery of the Gilgo bodies because of how she pushed for her daughter's search, was found stabbed to death in her apartment.

She was 52 years old. Her daughter, Sarra Elizabeth Gilbert, was charged with her death.

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