Posts Tagged ‘ Long Island Serial Killer ’

48 Hours update on the Long Island unidentified serial killer

I am glad that there is new information and that the case has not been just let lie. I was worried that since Hurricane Sandy it was just going to lay unsolved.

Sadly there does not seem to be any new leads or information on the 4 girls found murdered in New Jersey. So close to this case.

Police Commissioner and D.A. Argue Over How Many Killers

Spota Discounts Lone Long Island Serial Killer Theory


Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota told county legislators at a hearing that he disagrees with Police Commissioner Richard Dormer’s latest theory that a single serial killer left the remains along several miles of highway between Long Island’s Jones and Gilgo beaches.

Spota said he was “shocked and surprised” when he received a telephone call from a reporter several weeks ago asking about Dormer’s change of heart.

“I had no idea what that reporter was talking about,” Spota said, adding that Dormer has yet to discuss the revised theory with him personally.

“I would never even discuss this publicly, except I think that the facts that have been disclosed so far do not bear out the single killer theory at all,” said Spota, who had previously declined to comment through a spokesman.

The district attorney and Dormer were in agreement in May when they appeared at a joint press conference to say that authorities believed multiple killers were likely responsible for the deaths of eight women, a man and a toddler.

The remains were found in the thick underbrush along the beach highway between December 2010 and April. Investigators later determined that some remains found near the parkway were linked by DNA to remains of homicide victims found more than 40 miles away as far back as 1996.

Dormer said in interview with The Associated Press earlier this month in advance of the anniversary of the Dec. 11 discovery of the first body that he had revised his theory. He now believes one killer is likely responsible.

Dormer discounted that some of the victims had been dismembered while some had not, arguing that serial killers often evolve and change their tactics. He pointed to the likelihood that all the victims were linked to the sex trade as another indicator that one killer was likely responsible.

On Thursday, Spota countered that because five of the 10 victims have yet to be identified, the police commissioner is not able to confirm that all had a link to the sex trade.

The toddler who was found is believed to the child of one of the unidentified dead prostitutes, Dormer has said. The male victim was found wearing women’s clothing, which Dormer said indicates he may have been a prostitute. Spota countered that men can be cross-dressers without being prostitutes.

The district attorney said not only does he disagree with Dormer’s view, but contended that many of the homicide detectives investigating the case do not share the commissioner’s opinion. Dormer has conceded that others, including some in his department, may not agree with him and has left open the possibility that he could change the theory if additional information is received.

Dormer, who is leaving office at the end of this month, had testified before the legislature’s public safety committee prior to Spota’s appearance Thursday morning but left before the district attorney’s testimony. A spokeswoman said later that Dormer had no comment on what Spota said.

The district attorney said he felt he had been blindsided by Dormer’s revised theory. He said his chief assistant assigned to the case didn’t even know about it.

“I have to tell you that in our office, the DA’s office and the homicide squad work hand in hand,” Spota said. “The moment that any police are called to a crime scene and they determine it to be a homicide, the prosecutor is called out immediately. They’re right there. And that’s the way we’ve always worked.

“And for me to have to call a prosecutor to answer a question from somebody in the media, that we now have a different theory, it’s disturbing. It really truly is disturbing.”

The legislative hearing of the criminal justice committee took place days after police found another set of remains that they believe are the corpse of Shannan Gilbert, the prostitute whose disappearance spurred the search.

An officer and his cadaver dog were searching along Ocean Parkway last December when they happened upon the first skeletal remains. Two days later, three more bodies were found. By April, the body count had risen to 10. Police have not identified any suspects.

Investigators have said they think Gilbert’s death is probably unrelated to the other deaths. She vanished into a wetland after fleeing a client’s home in a panic, for a reason that is still unclear.

Dormer said the skeletal remains discovered this week were in a location that suggested that Gilbert became exhausted and drowned while trying to force her way through the marshy thicket to a nearby road. He said unlike the other remains, which were dumped from the nearby roadway, there would have been no way for someone to leave Gilbert’s remains where they were found because of the daunting thicket and underbrush. 


Not sure what I think. The dismemberment of some while wrapping others in burlap bags does seem like a jump in ritual but it is not impossible for a serial killer to do that.

That also makes me wonder if the NJ victims are not once again possibly linked into these bodies.

It is so hard to make a firm opinion considering the lack of so much information and so many details.

Possible Advancement in the Search for Gilbert

Police investigating the disappearance of a woman along an isolated stretch of Long Island beachfront said Wednesday they had found her jeans, shoes and cell phone and believed she may have drowned in a marshy area when she went missing in 2010.

Armed with dredging machinery and canine units, police for the second day scoured the area where Shannan Gilbert was last seen in May 2010.

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer said the waters in the marsh had receded far below the lake-like terrain that officers had encountered in previous searches, allowing them to discover the latest items.

He said a purse they found on Tuesday contains some type of photo ID, but said the items inside the bag must be meticulously dried, and said authorities have not yet been able to examine the ID.

Police also believe Gilbert’s body will soon be found, and that the missing prostitute may have drowned, instead of being killed.

“We believe that Shannan Gilbert ran into that area the night she disappeared,” Dormer said. “It’s very easy to get engulfed with water and muck and fall down and not be able to get out of there. So we surmise that that’s what happened to Shannan and she’s in there someplace, and we’re going to do everything we can to find her.”

Police Inspector Stuart Cameron said officers performing the search have been navigating quicksand-like terrain, abruptly dropping to their “waist or deeper,” unable to get out without help.

The 24-year-old woman vanished after fleeing a client’s home in the gated seashore community several miles from Jones Beach State Park.

The Suffolk County Police Department said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon no human remains were found. But a law enforcement source tells NBC New York that remains were indeed uncovered in Tuesday’s search.

Police were looking for Gilbert last December when they began finding human remains in the underbrush along Ocean Parkway. Some 10 sets of human remains were eventually recovered in the area, but not Gilbert’s.

Officials at first suspected several serial killers, but have recently said one person is responsible for all 10 deaths. No suspects have been named.

Police conducted a separate search near Gilgo Beach Monday, but said they did not uncover any new evidence related to Gilbert’s disappearance or the 10 sets of remains.

NBC New York 



Long Island Serial Killer Article in British GQ

This article kind of brings all the information together as well as showing the reaction in the area. It is kind of long but really interesting.

America’s eyes are trained on a quiet coastal corner of the country where a murderer has claimed ten victims and remains at large, despite the efforts of investigators. Now, as Alex Hannaford reports for GQ, a growing band of self-styled ‘superheroes’, including ‘Samaritan Prime’, is joining in the hunt and attracting as much attention as its quarry. 

There are some pretty interesting photos that go with the article including the one of Samaritan Pride.

Gilbert was a 23-year-old prostitute from upstate New York. She had moved to New Jersey a few years earlier to try to make it as a singer, but had drifted into escort work to make ends meet. Since she’d begun posting ads on Craigslist, Gilbert had started to make good money, but occasionally, perhaps unsurpris­ingly, there was a price to pay. Once, she was beaten up by a boyfriend and a surgeon had to insert a titanium plate in her jaw. Her taste for recreational drugs, too, meant she wasn’t left with much at the end of the day, but despite this, she had started taking a college course and moved into her own place for the first time.

On the night of 1 May 2010, a client called Joseph Brewer contacted her via Craigslist, and her driver – a man called Michael Pak, whom Gilbert had worked with before – drove her to Brewer’s gated community by Oak Beach.

Pak waited outside in his car while Gilbert, wearing a blonde wig, leather jacket and jeans, went inside. At around five o’clock in the morning, Brewer came out asking Pak for help. Pak found Gilbert distressed, speaking to police on her phone. She was saying she feared for her life, and in those twilight hours she kept the 911 dispatcher on the line for 23 minutes. But she didn’t say why, didn’t give an address and refused to leave with Pak, her trusted driver. Instead, Gilbert ran out of the house, screaming for help, banging on the door of one of Brewer’s neighbours, 75-year-old Gustav Coletti, who offered to call the police. Gilbert, sobbing, begged him not to and instead disappeared into the night. The only trace, a set of footprints in the sand.

By the time Pak pulled up outside Coletti’s house, Gilbert was gone. Suffolk County police, tasked to the case, searched Brewer’s house and questioned both him and Pak but publicly said neither was a suspect. Coletti was cleared as well. Sometime in early summer, police stopped searching for clues among the brush scrub and marshes along Ocean Parkway. As summer 2010 turned to autumn, you could feel a chill in the breeze on Long Island. But as the fallen leaves blew along this remote stretch of road, with them, it seemed, went any leads.

On 11 December last year, just a few miles up the road from where Gilbert disappeared, a Suffolk County police officer, out training his cadaver dog on the grassy bank that lines the road, noticed his animal had picked up a scent on the wind. He walked over to the brush scrub and thorns, and peered in. A few feet in, he saw human remains.

Detectives closed off Ocean Parkway in both directions and combed the area for more clues. A few days later, the grisly body count had risen to four as they came across the badly decomposed bodies of two more young women and the skeletal remains of another, each wrapped carefully in coarse, brown burlap sacks – jute bags usually used for grain or, around here, more likely as sandbags. Each body lay spaced about 500 yards apart, and it was clear that the number of victims and the way in which they’d been arranged along this desolate, windswept stretch of road, bore all the hallmarks of a serial killer.


It wasn’t long before the four women were identified as prostitutes: Melissa Barthelemy, 24, of the Bronx; Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 25, of Connecticut; Megan Waterman, 22, of Maine; and Amber Lynn Costello, 27, of North Babylon, New York, a town just across Oyster Bay. And all had offered their services on Craigslist, just like Gilbert.

Then came more chilling news: the teenage sister of victim Melissa Barthelemy told police she may have been contacted by the killer back in August 2009. Shortly after her sister went missing, a man phoned Amanda Barthelemy several times from her older sister’s mobile phone. In the final call he said: “Do you think you’ll ever see her again? You won’t. I killed her,” before hanging up.

After the snows had thawed in spring, Nassau police got involved in the search. Behind the “no parking” and “emergency stop­ping only” signs that line Ocean Beach Parkway, the impenetrable brush and dense under­growth make access to the beach via anything other than designated paths or deer trails impossible. It wasn’t long before the thorns and poison ivy had taken their toll. “My guys got shredded, torn apart,” Smith explains.

There was only a small window of time before the dunes once again became strangled with spring vegetation. On 29 March, however, police in Nassau County found another body, half a mile east of where the first four were uncovered. A few days later, searchers hovering over tick-infested foliage on ladders attached to fire trucks, discovered three more sets of human remains, bringing the total to eight. But there was still no trace of Shannan Gilbert.

Nassau County detectives, with park police, officers from New York state and cadaver dogs, worked their way west from the Suffolk-Nassau line. Some time around noon they came across a black bag 30 feet from the roadway; inside were what appeared to be human bones. Three hours later, a few yards from the entrance to the John F Kennedy Memorial Wildlife Sanctuary, detectives found a human skull – later identi­fied as belonging to another former prostitute, Jessica Taylor – in the undergrowth.

The days following these finds saw high activ­ity in the area: roads were closed, cordons set up, helicopters swooped overhead looking for potential “dump sites”. One hundred and fifty officers combed the roadside along the barrier island, but they found nothing further – just some debris, a makeshift shelter that Smith says could have been there for years and a lot of animal bones.

There were now ten bodies – the four bodies initially found last December and six more – although Suffolk County police made it clear they were sure they weren’t all victims of the same killer. It was obvious the first four were connected, but then there was Taylor’s skull, a bag of bones, and the body of a small child and an Asian man in his twenties.

Like the Suffolk detectives, Smith didn’t link the bodies to the same killer. Until the forensic evidence came back, he wouldn’t even say they were all murder victims. “People do strange things,” he tells me. “Some people go off into the woods to die. Sometimes family members are embarrassed by a suicide and they may move the body. Who knows – it could have been a medical student with a cadaver throwing it in there.”

But it was the four initial bodies, those of the missing prostitutes, that really shook the local populace, and nothing was going to allay the fears of the people who lived on the island: a place that had now, whether they liked to admit it or not, become an open-air charnel house. Fear turned to panic turned to anger, and there was a growing sense that something, by someone, had to be done to stop any more girls like Shannan Gilbert going missing.

The author now writes about what has happened in the community.

In summer the population of this sleepy beach community multiplies overnight, and this year the message from the au­thorities was clear: this summer, like every other, the beaches were open. It echoed the scene from Jaws in which Mayor Vaughn, fearing reports of a shark attack will ruin the summer tourist season, overrules a plan to close the beaches.

But it didn’t change the fact that there was, if not real fear, then a paranoia among the locals who had been told of the likelihood that a serial killer was among them. Such warranted fear is as ripe as it was back in December – and building. Frustrated by the lack of progress made by the local police, un­covering the killer’s identity has for some people become an obsession; while for others, turning vigilante and helping the murderer meet his demise is a dark compulsion.


It is an interesting article and there is much more to read.

The hunt for Long Island’s serial killer

Can Speech Help Us Identify Psychopaths?

NEW YORK — Psychopaths are known to be wily and manipulative, but even so, they unconsciously betray themselves, according to scientists who have looked for patterns in convicted murderers’ speech as they described their crimes.

The researchers interviewed 52 convicted murderers, 14 of them ranked as psychopaths according to the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised, a 20-item assessment, and asked them to describe their crimes in detail. Using computer programs to analyze what the men said, the researchers found that those with psychopathic scores showed a lack of emotion, spoke in terms of cause-and-effect when describing their crimes, and focused their attention on basic needs, such as food, drink and money.

While we all have conscious control over some words we use, particularly nouns and verbs, this is not the case for the majority of the words we use, including little, functional words like “to” and “the” or the tense we use for our verbs, according to Jeffrey Hancock, the lead researcher and an associate professor in communications at Cornell University, who discussed the work on (Oct. 17) in Midtown Manhattan at Cornell’s ILR Conference Center.

“The beautiful thing about them is they are unconsciously produced,” Hancock said.

These unconscious actions can reveal the psychological dynamics in a speaker’s mind even though he or she is unaware of it, Hancock said.

What it means to be a psychopath

Psychopaths make up about 1 percent of the general population and as much as 25 percent of male offenders in federal correctional settings, according to the researchers. Psychopaths are typically profoundly selfish and lack emotion. “In lay terms, psychopaths seem to have little or no ‘conscience,'” write the researchers in a study published online in the journal Legal and Criminological Psychology.

Psychopaths are also known for being cunning and manipulative, and they make for perilous interview subjects, according to Michael Woodworth, one of the authors and a psychologist who studies psychopathy at the University of British Columbia, who joined the discussion by phone. [Criminal Minds Are Different From Yours]

“It is unbelievable,” Woodworth said. “You can spend two or three hours and come out feeling like you are hypnotized.”

While there are reasons to suspect that psychopaths’ speech patterns might have distinctive characteristics, there has been little study of it, the team writes.

How words give them away

To examine the emotional content of the murderers’ speech, Hancock and his colleagues looked at a number of factors, including how frequently they described their crimes using the past tense. The use of the past tense can be an indicator of psychological detachment, and the researchers found that the psychopaths used it more than the present tense when compared with the nonpsychopaths. They also found more dysfluencies — the “uhs” and “ums” that interrupt speech — among psychopaths. Nearly universal in speech, dysfluencies indicate that the speaker needs some time to think about what they are saying.

With regard to psychopaths, “We think the ‘uhs’ and ‘ums’ are about putting the mask of sanity on,” Hancock told LiveScience.

I don’t think that even most are insane. They are just trying to hide and maintain their calm and cool. Psychopaths are very concerned about power and the superficial views that other have of them.

Power is a main concern. Many serial killers speak about feeling like God when they kill.

Many other psychopaths are successful in power positions in management. They thrive becaue they do not concern themselves with the personal aspects of business deals.

Almost all psychopaths will appear ‘normal’ and well put together to those that know them. Most people that do claim to know them though only know small parts of the psychopath. There is no real depth in the relationships.

Psychopaths appear to view the world and others instrumentally, as theirs for the taking, the team, which also included Stephen Porter from the University of British Columbia, wrote.

As they expected, the psychopaths’ language contained more words known as subordinating conjunctions. These words, including “because” and “so that,” are associated with cause-and-effect statements.

“This pattern suggested that psychopaths were more likely to view the crime as the logical outcome of a plan (something that ‘had’ to be done to achieve a goal),” the authors write.

And finally, while most of us respond to higher-level needs, such as family, religion or spirituality, and self-esteem, psychopaths remain occupied with those needs associated with a more basic existence.

Their analysis revealed that psychopaths used about twice as many words related to basic physiological needs and self-preservation, including eating, drinking and monetary resources than the nonpsychopaths, they write.

By comparison, the nonpsychopathic murderers talked more about spirituality and religion and family, reflecting what nonpsychopathic people would think about when they just committed a murder, Hancock said.

The researchers are interested in analyzing what people write on Facebook or in other social media, since our unconscious mind also holds sway over what we write. By analyzing stories written by students from Cornell and the University of British Columbia, and looking at how the text people generate using social media relates to scores on the Self-Report Psychopathy scale. Unlike the checklist, which is based on an extensive review of the case file and an interview, the self report is completed by the person in question.

This sort of tool could be very useful for law enforcement investigations, such as in the case of the Long Island serial killer, who is being sought for the murders of at least four prostitutes and possibly others, since this killer used the online classified site Craigslist to contact victims, according to Hancock.

Text analysis software could be used to conduct a “first pass,” focusing the work for human investigators, he said. “A lot of time analysts tell you they feel they are drinking from a fire hose.”

Knowing a suspect is a psychopath can affect how law enforcement conducts investigations and interrogations, Hancock said.

You can follow LiveSciencewriter Wynne Parry on Twitter @Wynne_Parry. Follow LiveScience for the latest in science news and discoveries on Twitter @livescience and on Facebook.

Live Science Here.


Any tool to help law enforcement is a good thing. I just do not know how much they can actually learn for social media outlets.

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