Over the last few years, the national media have been covering the case of a potential serial killer in the Long Island area. The case has had a few similarities to the Green River Killings, and has been of interest for some readers. Here is a timeline of the events:
In May 2010, 24-year-old Shannan Gilbert went missing on Long Island. She had a connection to prostitution, and she was last seen going to meet someone off Craigslist.
In December 2010, police found the bodies of four women in the Long Island area. They were identified as Maureen Brainard-Barne, Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman, and Amber Lynn Costello. All were found within the same general location and found near where Shannan Gilbert had been reported missing. All four of the women had worked in prostitution through Craigslist. The women had gone missing from July 2007 through September 2010.
On March 30th, 2011, a fifth set of remains was found within two miles of the four sets of remains that had been found in December 2010. Two months later, police announced that this fifth set of remains belonged to 20-year-old Jessica Taylor. Jessica worked in prostitution and had gone missing from Manhattan in July 2003. Parts of her dismembered body had been found that same year forty-five miles away.
On April 4th, 2011, three more sets of remains were discovered just a couple miles from the original four sets of remains. Of these three victims, the first was an unidentified female. The rest of her remains had been found ten years prior in November 2000, near where remains of Jessica Taylor had been found some forty-five miles away. The second set of remains that were found on April 4th, 2011, belonged to an unidentified Asian male. The third set of remains belonged to an unidentified female toddler who was believed to be 1-2 years old.
On April 11th, 2011, police announced that two more sets of remains had been located. Little information was initially released about these two sets of remains.
On September 20th, 2011, police released more information about the two sets of remains which were found on April 11th, 2011. The first set of remains was an unidentified woman, who was also the mother of the unidentified toddler that had been found on April 4th, 2011. The second set of remains matched remains that had washed ashore on Fire Island, back in 1996.
In December 2011, a 2-hour documentary about unsolved killings was aired on A&E with several new pieces of information. Of particular interest was that the sister of victim Melissa Barthelemy began receiving phone calls from a man claiming to be Melissa’s killer just a week after Melissa’s disappearance. These phone calls lasted for several weeks. Police were able to trace the location of the phone calls to Times Square.
On December 13th, 2011, the remains of Shannon Gilbert were found. Police announced that they believed her death was accidental, and was not connected to the other murders. Shannon’s family disagrees.
As of March 2014, ten sets of remains have been found. No suspect has been identified in connection to these 10 deaths, and many questions still remain. Were all of these deaths the work of one person? If so, it would indicate that the killings had lasted for at least 15 years. Are there other victims that may be connected to the case? Police have stated that they are looking into similar murders that have occurred to determine if there could be a connection to this case. Since these ten set of remains have been found, three additional sets of remains have also been found in the area. However, police have not gone on record as linking these discoveries to the unsolved killings. One of the deaths may have in fact been a suicide.
There’s a lot of questions left to be answered, and the families are waiting to see justice.