The Gilgo Beach serial killer likely began his deadly spree 15 years ago, is a Long Island man knowledgeable about remote terrain in Nassau and Suffolk counties, and likely had nothing to do with the missing person case of Shannan Gilbert, Suffolk Police Commissioner Richard Dormer told Patch in a phone interview today.
“The theory now is that it’s one killer because of the similarities between the victims,” Dormer said.
Initially police believed one serial killer was responsible for the deaths of the first four female sex workers found at Gilgo. But the discovery of six more victims, and body parts, some located 40 miles from each other, then led police to believe several killers were in play.
“We stated all along that the theory may change as the investigation progressed,” Dormer said. “We know he knows Long Island given where the remains have been found.”
The locations include Gilgo Beach, Davis Park, Manorville and the Jones Beach water tower area.
One reason for returning to the one-killer theory is that DNA tests this spring tied together an unsolved case of a pair of woman’s legs found in 1996 at Davis Park, Fire Island to a woman’s skull found at Jones Beach this spring.
The assumption the killer is male is based on the fact that it’s men who typically are involved in the deaths of prostitutes, Dormer said.
Of the eight women killed, five have been identified and worked as escorts and the male was likely in the sex trade given the female clothing found on the victim.
“We always leave every opportunity open but we’re pretty sure the killer is a male,” Dormer said.
The reason the Gilbert case is considered a separate incident is because the scenario regarding the 24-year-old’s disappearance in May 2010 is very different than what investigators believe happened to the other victims.
Dormer said there is a possibility that Gilbert’s body is in the thicket of beach brush along the south side of Ocean Parkway. It was where the Craigslist sex worker was last seen running the night she disappeared.
“We plan to search that area again as it’s an open case and we hope to give the family some closure,” Dormer said.