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One Year Later: A Timeline of the Gilgo Serial Killer Investigation

It's been 362 days since the first set of 10 remains were discovered along Ocean Parkway near Gilgo Beach. Patch offers a timeline of the continuing investigation.

Patch recaps the events during the four-month-old serial killer investigation that began with a missing woman last seen in Oak Beach in May, 2010.

December 11, 2010:  A Suffolk County Police canine unit investigating a missing persons case regarding Shannan Gilbert, a 24-year-old New Jersey woman who was reported missing in May and last seen in Oak Beach, discover what they believe are human skeletal remains at Gilgo Beach, three miles west of Robert Moses bridge, at 2:45 p.m.

December 13, 2010: The remains of three more bodies are found in the same location, within 500 feet of each of other.

December 15, 2010: The FBI offers up its forensic and investigative services in the case. Police seize a white SUV from an Oak Beach residence as part of the remains investigation.

December 16, 2010: Suffolk County Medical Examiner reports the remains are all female victims and that Gilbert is not one of the four female bodies discovered. The ME’s office holds a press event to explain forensic investigation approach.

December 17, 2010: Police hold a press conference to provide an update of the investigation, stating it had completed a comprehensive search of the beach area in both Nassau and Suffolk along Ocean Parkway.

January 19, 2011:  Police identify one victim as Megan Waterman, a 22-year-old Maine woman reported missing this past June from Hauppauge.

January 22, 2011: Remaining three victim identities still unknown.

January 24, 2011: Police reveal identities of three remaining victims and Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota declares the victims are the work of a serial killer. He also reveals all four worked as prostitutes using Craiglist ads. Police say the women were killed at different times, possibly a year apart in one case, and disposed of at different times. Suffolk Police Commissioner Richard Dormer says beach search would resume once weather conditions improve in spring.

March 29, 2011: Police search teams return to Gilgo Beach to resume search for Gilbert.

March 30 2011: Police confirm discovery of more possible human remains at a site east of the original search location.

March 31, 2011:  Police rule out that the fifth set of remains discovered a mile east of the first four sets are not those of Shannon Gilbert, the missing 24-year-old New Jersey woman and Craiglist escort. Gilbert was last seen after visiting a client in Oak Beach.

April 4, 2011: Police find three more sets of human remains between Oak Beach and Gilgo Beach, bringing the body count to eight.

April 5, 2011: Police say Shannan Gilbert, the woman last seen in Oak Beach on May 1, 2010 is not one of the three bodies discovered on April 4.

April 7, 2011:  The upcoming weekend and April 11, 2011 will mark the fourth-month mark in the serial killer investigation as police continued their seven-mile beach search.

:  Suffolk County Police schedule a briefing at a command center set up at the former OBI bar on Ocean Parkway and announced the Suffolk search effort is completed.

April 11, 2011: Two sets of bones are discovered by police near the Jones Beach water tower, bringing total body count in Gilgo/Ocean Parkway serial killer investigation to 10. The remains, which are confirmed as human bones later int he day, are found just hours after Nassau, Suffolk and State Police embark on an intensive search of the parkway area west of the Suffolk County line.

: An aerial search by Nassau Police of the western portion of Ocean Parkway reveals no more bodies. Police later announce intentions to begin searching the waterways around Oak Island.

April 13, 2011: Suffolk Police schedule a press briefing at 1 p.m. at Yaphank headquarters but note in the press alert that no major developments are expected to be announced. Police will using advanced photography technology and have begun waterway search efforts.

April 21, 2011:  Beach search efforts .

April 29, 2011: announce they will conduct a search of Wantagh Parkway and close the road from Ocean Parkway to Merrick Road starting Monday, May 2 at 9 a.m.

May 3, 2001:  New York State Police initiate a around the southern portion of the Robert Moses Causeway with Suffolk canine and homicide task force members participating. There is still no news regarding identification of the last six sets of human remains.

May 9, 2001: Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota says the last four sets of remains are not related to the serial killings of four women first found at Gilgo and that two sets of remains are related to two different female deaths, the death of an Asian man and death of a child.

June 8, 2011: A three-hour scrutiny of beach sites near Robert Moses Causeway Tuesday did not unearth any further human remains.

July 12, 2011: Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer appears on an national news broadcast to state police are making progress though no imminent arrests are in progress.

September 19, 2011: Suffolk Police release a news alert they will hold a media briefing on the case on Tuesday, September 20th.

September 20, 2011: Suffolk Police Tuesday released facial sketches and jewelry items related to three of five unidentified bodies discovered last spring in the ongoing Gilgo Beach serial killer investigation. Police say they are still working on a sketch of one female victim.

November 30, 2011: Suffolk Police Commissioner Richard Dormer says police believe the 10 deaths are the work of one serial killer who is likely a Long Island male resident and that the murders may have started as far back as 15 years ago given related body parts found in Davis Park and Ocean Beach. Dormer states the missing Shannan Gilbert case is likely unrelated to the murders of eight women, one male and one toddler found between December 11, 2010 and April, 2011. Police say it is possible that Gilbert is dead and her body is along the beach area where she went missing from Oak Beach back in May, 2010.

December 5, 2011: Nearly three dozen Suffolk Nassau and State Police officers, along with nearly a dozen canine units, converge on Ocean Parkway about 8 a.m. to search between Robert Moses Causeway and Jones Beach, as well as specific sites on Bay Parkway and Wantagh Parkway to re-search 90 points of interest identified by FBI aerial photography earlier this spring. At a 3 p.m. press conference SCPD announces no new evidence has been found during the day's search and searches will continue but none are planned at this point.A New York Times television critic states that A&E documentary airing today on case indicates police appear "somewhat lacksadasical" in regard to investigation.

December 6, 2001: Police state that a pocketbook that may have belonged to Shannan Gilbert was found during a search on Tuesday, Dec. 5 in the marshland near where Gilbert was last seen running toward in Oak Beach. Police state no human remains were found Tuesday or today, and wouldn not initially comment on other items.

December 7, 2011: SCPD returned to the marsh area to resume search. Later in the day police report a cellphone, sneakers, jeans and shirt that may have been Gilbert's were found. Police Commissioner Richard Dormer is quoted in published reports that Shannan Gilbert's body is in the marsh area and that police intend to find it. Published report states that the canine officer who first discovered the first set of remains on December 10, 2010 was the one who found the pocketbook.

December 8, 2011: SCPD return to marsh area in Oak Beach to resume search.

Evaristo Beltre April 15, 2011 at 03:51 AM
I go on google earth and I am able to zoom into earth and see cars even people walking on the streets. can't they use that to at least see the vehicle used the night that the missing girl from jersey was banging on doors at a specific time and day. It's only ocean parkway in and out of there....
steff April 16, 2011 at 09:35 AM
They will never catch this guy. You can tell by the early press, they were blaming the victim right from the start. "Prostitutes prostitutes prostitutes" as if that makes killing people okay. They're just waiting for the heat to die down so they can forget about it and go back to busting call girls.
Tre April 18, 2011 at 11:40 AM
. Killing a person because of a bad occupational decision is beyond sick. How could someone kill a person. I totally do not understand how someone that sick could blend in to society without his family or acquaintances knowing.
Walter Keenan April 18, 2011 at 04:17 PM
The satellites are not continuously recording. There would be a small chance that a satellite was passing overhead at the time of the incident and took a photo. There is also the chance that it was a cloudy or rainy night and nothing may be seen through the clouds.
Concerned Parent April 18, 2011 at 04:33 PM
This is very sad. Would anyone be able to verify the validity of the rumor that there might be someone involved from law enforcement since they know how to cover the tracks? This has to be so rough on the families of these people and the investigators as well. Whoever the killer is, is certifiably sick.
Walter Keenan April 18, 2011 at 06:03 PM
My guess would be there is not much validity in this rumor when someone thinks about the claim; it certainly is a bandwagon easily believed and probably quickly jumped on. There are no traces, it must be someone who knows about investigations - believable but doubtful to me. Not to say there is no possibility of the killer belonging to law enforcement, but the lack of tracks does not automatically point to someone knowledgeable in investigations. One key piece of information that everyone has ignored is that, the bodies seem to have been left sometime ago according to what I am reading, any tracks that one would expect to find at a crime scene have been washed away by nature due whatever length of time the bodies have been there. This is not an episode of CSI where the investigators are at the crime scene a few hours after a murder to collect tracks left behind. These bodies have not been inside of an undisturbed bubble, they and the grounds around them have been subject to the elements that have hit that area for at least the time it takes a body to decompose (weeks or months? - I don't know), nature has probably erased any tracks left behind or made them almost impossible to find.
Concerned Parent April 18, 2011 at 06:44 PM
What you say makes a lot of sense Walter, thank you for your insight. These investigators really have their work cut out for them.
Cindy Lou Who May 01, 2011 at 01:45 AM
The Gilgo case will not change the way I go to the ToB beaches this summer because those bodies were dumped there, not murdered there. And chances are that the bodies were dumped when it wasn't a busy time. I plan on camping over at Cedar Beach Marina, with my family, this summer.
Tom Gillen December 09, 2011 at 01:54 PM
that's hardly the situation at all. although you may be right....they may never catch this guy. you don't think the police want to catch someone who killed 10 people? problem is this isn't NCIS, and clues and tips and suspects just don't appear out of thin air. It's not easy to catch a serial killer. and yeah these girls were prositutes.....does that mean the police aren't supposed to mention that?
Tom Gillen December 09, 2011 at 01:56 PM
I don't think cloud cover or rain is a factor. they simply wouldn't use images in weather like that. otherwise google earth would just be a white blown out picture. Besides, this happened at night. How many google earth satellite images do you see taken at night????
shannon6 December 16, 2011 at 01:53 AM
Easily. He is a psychopath. He holds a job and has a family and doesn't show an ounce of remorse or empathy. He is cunning and manipulative, well educated and well groomed and is used to getting his way. He is odd though, does not have any close connections with real people. He most likely fits into a paraphilia mold. Has major OCD, which is acceptable by society. He is neat, organized.
shannon6 December 16, 2011 at 01:56 AM
He is not law enforcement, but was already on their rador, deliberately. He is highly intelligent and fooled the detectives, most likely getting off at being cleared as the suspect.
shannon6 December 16, 2011 at 01:59 AM
Walter is on target. This is a highly intelligent individual. Has a wide variety of knowledge, nature, law, and anatomy. He is well educated, let's say an Ivy League school, or disappointed he didn't get into one, and got into a secondary one, like NYU.
shannon6 December 16, 2011 at 02:05 AM
I believe this guy has stopped killing. He is on to something else. The game is manipulation. Maybe he killed during his drug induced psychosis, but he is sober now, and taken his game to a higher level, prostitutes are beneath this guy. He is on to fooling judges now. He already got the attention, game on for him. But he is unraveling.
Walter Keenan December 16, 2011 at 02:12 AM
Wow, Shannon6 - you blew my mind it's like you have had a peek at my resume. Only you didn't read a damn thing on it, good for you - you tried.
Surfergirl February 13, 2012 at 11:36 AM
Im from Atlantic City, the four bodies found down here in2007 were dumped in a similar area, this person is very comfortable around water, could he be using a boat to transport and dump his victims, explaining the lack of tire tracks and other evidence

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