Talk of the Town
When the four bodies were found at Gilgo Beach, East Meadow serial killer Rifkin, who confessed to murdering 17 NYC prostitutes, mocked the Gilgo killer in December 2010 from his jail cell in upstate New York because the killer put all his victims in one place. Rifkin scattered his victims and their dismembered body parts across Long Island—and state lines. Rifkin said prostitutes are perfect targets.
“No family. They can be gone six or eight months, and no one is looking,” Rifkin told The New York Daily News, adding that after he strangled his victims he would, “Carve ’em like a turkey.”
At the time of his arrest, Rifkin had a bumper sticker on his truck that said, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but chains and whips excite me.”
And now many are looking for another loner landscaper possibly living among them, like Rifkin, who could be targeting locals.
On one amateur crime-fighting message board, members are throwing around possible connections: Both women in Manorville were found north of the Expressway and chopped up, both men were found south of the Expressway and were untouched. Three other prostitutes were found dead—Gail Belfield, 30, in Wyandanch in 1995 from a gunshot wound to the chest, Colleen McNamee, 20, of Holbrook and Rita Tangredi-Beinlich, 31, of East Patchogue who died from strangulation in 1994 and discovered in different locations. Could these be related to the Gilgo murders? Manorville murders? The woman discovered on Newbridge Road was in a suitcase, so was the woman who washed up in Mamaroneck. And Melissa Barthelemy’s sister was taunted from the dead woman’s cell phone by a caller traced to the Port Authority area—the same place Jessica Taylor was last seen alive before her body turned up in Manorville.
“Of course [the Manorville murders] could have to do with the girls at the beach, but I’m no cop. It could be anyone,” Danny says, adding that looking on a map, Manorville is the first exit a killer would see that was empty land. “This is the age of Google. You can find anything online.”
And these certainly aren’t the first bodies to be found in the Pine Barrens. In 1990 the body of a 4-year-old girl was found, also just off of Halsey Manor Road by a hiker. Nearly two decades later, in 2006, Long Island detectives traveled to California and arrested Parmjit Singh and his wife, Khairual Abdul—a couple formerly of Queens—for the murder of their daughter, Jennifer Shafiq, who was beaten to death and then buried in the Pine Barrens.
And the Manorville women are also not the first prostitutes to be murdered on Long Island. Jennifer Papain, 26, of North Patchogue was strangled to death after meeting a client on Craigslist last year. Her alleged killer, Chad Johnson, is being held without bail pending his trial.
And these women also aren’t the first to be mutilated and dismembered. In August of 2006, Evan Marshall, 31, of Glen Cove, was arrested for kidnapping, murdering and dismembering his 57-year-old neighbor, Denice Fox. Detectives investigated to see if he was linked to any of the Manorville homicides, but could not find a connection.
“Nothing is happening in Manorville,” says Danny. “There is no ‘Butcher of Manorville’ running around in those woods. And if he is, he’s not going after his neighbors. No hiker or hunter has ever been found dead off of Halsey Manor Road.”
And that is most likely the case, but unfortunately that could make solving these crimes more difficult. The killer or victim could not only be from outside Manorville, but from outside of Long Island, or even New York State. And all it takes is one line of information entered into a database wrong, or not at all, to keep a case cold—a fact Smolinski has not only dedicated her life to making known nationally, but to changing.
“I think it’s an eye-opener for people,” she says. “You know there are about 160,000 missing people in the United States, and 40,000 unidentified remains, and that’s…that’s very sad.
“And anyone can go missing,” Smolinski adds. “No one is exempt.”
If you have information on any of the cases featured in this story, please visit www.tipsubmit.com to submit tips anonymously.