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There were five suspects, but it’s still a cold case.

A secluded, semi-private community at the eastern tip of a narrow barrier island, Oak Beach is a few miles from the line separating Nassau County from Suffolk. Just 35 miles from Manhattan, the town is decidedly not a tourist destination. To the east is wild, whispering marshland that seems worlds away from the few cars running right alongside it on Ocean Parkway. Dense vegetation separates the oceanfront community from the road, leaving it in a thick, deafening silence.

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On the night of May 1st,Gilbert, a young Craigslist escort, had been with Joseph Brewer, a first-time client, at his home. Brewer lived near the gated entrance to Oak Beach Association, a modestly upscale collection of a few dozen homes built closely together along narrow ro that descend to the ocean-facing beach.

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Gilbert, a warm-hearted year-old raised primarily in foster care, fell into prostitution the same way many women do: an unstable upbringing, an uncertain future, the alternative of earning less in 40 hours at minimum wage than in one day as an escort. Gilbert craved the spotlight and aspired to be a professional singer, though she used her relative economic power as a means to reconnect with her family.

Her date with Brewer would pay for a birthday gift for her mother Mari, who later told a reporter she tried to talk Shannan out of working that night, that just having her there for a visit was present enough. By the time police arrived — beckoned by two Oak Beach residents who Gilbert encountered in her panicked frenzy — she was nowhere to be seen.

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Initially, investigators assumed Mallia had found Gilbert. But the deceased was identified as Melissa Barthelemy of the Bronx, a young woman who advertised escort services on Craigslist and was last seen in July Soon after, while Mallia was searching the immediate vicinity for further evidence, he came upon the remains of three more missing persons: Maureen Brainard-Barnes, Amber Costello and Megan Waterman.

All were petite, twentysomething women. All had worked as escorts.

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Because of the proximity of their burial ground to a secluded waterfront called Gilgo Beach, they became known as the Gilgo Four. For a little while, all eyes in New York City were on the island, as press swarmed the search area, hoping to catch a glimpse, a clue — even another body.

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Police suspect they are all victims of a serial killer, and five — including a mother and child — have yet to be identified. Now, six years after the discovery of a possible serial killer on Long Island, police have still not apprehended any suspects.

New York's History of Serial Killers

There may be one killer or multiple, working in tandem or just using the same dumping ground. It could be that the killer was simply clever — knowledgeable about the difficult terrain on the barrier island and the gaps in police presence in its secluded beaches.

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Moreover, many of these questions have focused on death of Gilbert — but she might not have even been a victim of the Long Island Serial Killer at all. And if her death was really just a tragic coincidence, how much has her case been a distraction from finding the real killer?

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It was the perfect place to hide a body, there along the quiet beach on the barrier island, obscured by thick bramble. She left her cell phone and wallet behind. And Barthelemy must have had her phone, because a man pd to be her killer made repeated calls from her phone to her younger sister in the days after she disappeared. Beyond the choice of victims, there are indications that the killer may have knowingly made things harder on the police. The shoulder alongside Ocean Parkway may be narrow, but it is thick with hostile vegetation.

SCPD Chief Cameron, who was the Commanding Officer of the Special Patrol Bureau at the time the Gilgo Four were discovered, describes treacherous conditions as the search for victims expanded, with increasing urgency as the days got shorter and colder, bringing the promise of snow.

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After the first bodies were found in and Gilbert was not among them, her disappearance took on a new urgency. For a year, Gilbert was seen as a critical missing piece in an increasingly sinister puzzle.

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But what happened after she was found has kept her story at the center of the Long Island Serial Killer narrative, even though she may not have been a victim. And the Gilberts, too, are still not convinced.

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The bodies on Gilgo Beach were found buried — according to an interview Detective Mallia gave to the New York Times in Aprilat least two of the bodies were wrapped in burlap sacks, though the current police administration will not confirm this — while Gilbert was found partially exposed in the marsh, with some clothes and personal items found a few hundred yards away.

It has been repeatedly reported that the Gilgo Four were all strangled, but Varrone says those four women were found to have died of asphyxiation, which is the more general term for deprivation of oxygen and can be the result of choking, drowning or suffocation. In the absence of substantive updates from the Suffolk County Police Department, conspiracy theories have filled the silence.

The Long Island Serial Killer case has become a popular topic on internet forums like Websleuths, Reddit and numerous Facebook Craigslist escort Island devoted to the investigation. Among these groups of internet sleuths, there are strong but wildly varying opinions on who the killer might be and whether Gilbert was a victim. But the disproportionate focus on Gilbert may have occurred because the events of the night have become so convoluted. In part, that was because there was simply more information: Gilbert was less secretive than the other four about where she was going and what she was doing the night she disappeared.

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She was the only one among them working with a driver, and she was the only one known to have made a call. Her boyfriend, Alex Diaz, and her driver, Pak, were in contact with each other immediately after her disappearance, and teamed up to look for her. When questioned about the nature of the errand during a deposition, Brewer pleaded the fifth, but Gilbert family lawyer John Ray says Brewer told him one-on-one that he and Gilbert had gone to a CVS on the mainland. But perhaps the most baffling part of the story is the place of Dr.

Peter Hackett, a local physician.

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Ray, a seasoned litigator with a penchant for flashy accessorizing — who claims to have logged hundreds of hours on the case without a payday in sight — says the civil suit is still active, though it was ificantly hobbled in when a judge dismissed a large portion of the case, including all the counts for wrongful death. Dormer believes the call should be released to the public. Then last summer, six full years since her disappearance, Gilbert was back in the news again: her younger sister Sarra had stabbed her mother Mari to death.

According to both Varrone and former Assistant Chief of Patrol Patrick Cuff, they and two other department chiefs were told they would have to retire by the end of the month or be demoted to captain. Cuff was the only one to choose the lower-ranking position, as he was not financially ready to retire.

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It was probably the biggest homicide investigation in Suffolk County history. We were right in the middle of this. Burke, who became chief a year after the first bodies were discovered, had a long history with District Attorney Thomas Spota.

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The two first became acquainted when Burke, age 14, was a key witness for the prosecution in a brutal murder of a year-old boy, John Pius, who died of suffocation after stones were shoved down his throat. Spota was one of the prosecuting attorneys on the trial, which put four teenagers behind bars.

With little physical evidence to tie the young men to the killing, the convictions were based heavily on witness s and a confession by one of the accused, whose conviction was later thrown out. Years later, another of the four confessed to attempted manslaughter for his role in the killing.

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Burke ed the SCPD several years later as a beat cop at age A decade later, in the mids, he was subject to an internal investigation due to his romantic relationship with a convicted prostitute and drug offender, who reportedly had access to his police cruiser and his weapon. Varrone and Dormer both insist that while they were working the case, the FBI was very much involved, though Varrone says an official killer profile was not created even then.

But as with so many parts of the LISK case, the story continued to get more bizarre and unsettling.

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According to the charges, he conspired with law enforcement witnesses to cover up the assault, reportedly intimidating members of his squad to keep silent. In November, he was sentenced to 46 months in prison for the unlawful interrogation and abuse of a suspect. Meanwhile, District Attorney Spota is facing a federal investigation of allegations that his office was complicit in patterns of illegally tracking and strong-arming political adversaries into compliance. The details of the misconduct allegations are shocking.

A representative for Spota declined an interview. Sini says that there are now two detectives working full-time on the case, in complete cooperation with the FBI, which is now conducting the killer profile that Spota rejected in And Sini says that in this case, nondisclosure is part of a strategy to vet false tips and confessions.

Both Sini and Varrone say they believe that the killer will eventually be found. Killing Season director Zeman is not so sure. And whatever mistakes were made, the police have been working without a great deal of public support or trust.

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Law enforcement agents have been put in a position of repeatedly having to defend their own actions, and the actions of several layers of predecessors. Rolling Stone is a part of Penske Media Corporation.

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