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Long Island Serial Killer Update: Shannan Gilbert Search Resumes in Oak Beach Marsh

An officer from the Suffolk County Police Department's K-9 Unit uses a dog to search through the brush along the median of Ocean Parkway, near Oak Beach in Long Island, N.Y., on Monday, Dec. 5, 2011. Under dense fog, officers continued the search for missing 24-year-old Jersey City sex-worker Shannan Gilbert, focusing along Ocean Parkway, from the Robert Moses Causeway to Tobay Beach, state police said. (AP Photo/Kevin P. Coughlin)

The search for Shannan Gilbert continues Wednesday in rain and fog at the marsh bordering the Oak Beach community where the woman was last seen in May 2010.

Multiple news reports erroneously claimed that Gilbert’s remains  were found in Tuesday’s search of the area, citing anonymous sources. Police later denied that any human remains were found. Now, multiple news reports claim Gilbert’s purse was found in the marsh, again citing anonymous sources. Police will not confirm nor deny what items were found in the search.


In a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Inspector Stuart Cameron of the Suffolk County K-9 unit said the Suffolk County Department of Public Works would bring in heavy equipment to clear the marsh and cut down reeds Tuesday to make the area easier to search.

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Cameron said the marshland that borders Anchor Way in Oak Beach, the road where Gilbert was last seen running on the night of May 1, 2010 had been searched before but the land is very wet and sinks as it is walked on, making it extremely difficult to search. Cameron also said parts of the area had also been covered by water during previous searches and couldn’t be searched thoroughly.

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When asked to confirm what evidence was found in Monday’s search, Cameron responded, “I’m not at liberty to discuss.”

Police Commissioner Richard Dormer said investigators do not believe that Shannan Gilbert’s disappearance is related to the other 10 murders, but that Gilbert is believed to be dead and her body located in the Oak Beach area.

At the time of her disappearance, Gilbert, unfamiliar with the area, was running alongside the tall reeds that line Anchor Way. In the darkness, she would not have been able to see that those reeds were hiding flooded marsh that, at times, can be filled waist-deep with water.

A: Joseph Brewer's home, where Shannan Gilbert ran from; B: Anchor Way, where she was last seen running; To the right is the marshland, currently being searched. (Google Maps/Long Island Press)

Those with information can call Homicide Squad detectives at 631-852-6396, call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-220-8477, text tips anonymously by texting “SCPD” to “CRIMES” (274637) or email information via

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There is a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case, the highest sum ever offered in Suffolk County history.


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