The investigation continues Friday on Ocean Parkway and forensic experts have confirmed that the New Jersey prostitute who was reported missing seven months ago is not among the four bodies found in Gilgo Beach this week.
Shannon Gilbert, 24, of Jersey City, had been reported missing May 1 when she disappeared after meeting a client in Oak Beach. Suffolk County police notified her family Thursday that the search for Gilbert will continue.
Officers had been looking for clues in her case when they discovered skeletal remains Saturday and then three more bodies Monday on the side of the Ocean Parkway on the eastern end of Jones Beach Island, about three miles from the secluded seaside community where Gilbert was last seen. Authorities have said it could take a month or longer for the bodies to be identified.
Police brass suspect the cases are all connected and could be the work of a serial killer. They believe the victims were killed elsewhere and dumped along the parkway, some within the past two years.
Joseph Brewer, the Oak Beach man who is believed to be one of the last people to have seen Gilbert, surrendered his SUV to investigators but has not been named a suspect. He told reporters outside of his home that he was concerned for Gilbert and the families of the four victims.
“There’s four families missing their four young girls; those are the true victims. I feel sorry for them,” he said.
Suffolk County Police Commissioner described the discoveries as an anomaly that should not alarm the public.
“I don’t want anybody to think we have a Jack the Ripper running around Suffolk County with blood dripping from a knife,” Dormer said. “Go about your business.”
Investigators are also working to see if the remains found are that of 22-year-old Megan Waterman of Maine, who went missing from a Hauppauge hotel a month after Gilbert. Waterman, like Gilbert, was a prostitute who met her clients on Craigslist.
The parkway was closed Thursday while Suffolk cops, New York State police and FBI agents expanded the search area. The roadway was reopened Thursday evening but will be closed again once the search continues 9 a.m. Friday.
The man who drove Gilbert to Oak Beach on the day she disappeared told the Jersey City Journal she was “delirious” and “irrational” when she called 911 from the client’s house.
He said Gilbert’s client phoned him three hours later and said Gilbert was refusing to leave.
The man said he found Gilbert on the phone telling a 911 operator that a man was after her.
The driver told the newspaper he tried to get Gilbert leave but she said, “You guys are trying to kill me.”
He said Gilbert eventually ran from the house.
Brewer’s neighbor, Gustav Coletti, said he last saw Gilbert when she ran to his house shortly before 5 a.m. the day she vanished.
“I heard screaming at my front door,” he told the Associated Press. “She was saying, ‘I need help, I need help, they’re after me'”
When Coletti told her he was calling the police, he said she ran away.
Police will close down Ocean Parkway again on Friday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. to continue the investigation.
-With Associated Press and Jaclyn Gallucci