Per the request of SND reader James, and because I totally agree with him that this is a super interesting mystery, today’s let’s talk about the still unsolved Long Island Serial Killer.
Raise your hand if you’ve read “Lost Girls by Robert Kolker.” I’m on my second time around right now. This true crime book about this case is easily in my Top 10 true crime reads, so if you haven’t had the chance, I strongly urge you to get off your ass and download this onto your Kindle.
“The Long Island serial killer (also referred to by media sources as the Gilgo Killer or the Seashore Serial Killer) is an unidentified suspected serial killer who is believed to have murdered 10 to 14 people associated with the sex trade over a period of nearly 20 years and dumped their bodies along the Ocean Parkway, near the remote Long Island beach towns of Gilgo Beach and Oak Beach in Suffolk County and the area of Jones Beach State Park in Nassau County.
The remains of four victims were found in December 2010, while six more sets of remains were found in March and April 2011. Police believe that the latest sets of remains predate the four bodies found in December 2010.
On May 9, 2011, authorities surmised that two of the newest sets of remains might be the work of a second killer. On November 29, 2011, however, the police announced that they believe that one person is responsible for all 10 deaths and that they do not believe that the case of Shannan Gilbert (see below) is related. According to Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota, “It is clear that the area in and around Gilgo Beach has been used to discard human remains for some period of time.”
Basically, a mysterious disappearance of an escort named Shannan Gilbert (complete with pre-dawn banging on doors and 911 calls) led to the discovery of 10 (ish) bodies along the Long Island seashore. 4 bodies were found at once, and then another collection of bodies was found later. They appear to be all related, yet none of which are really related to the banging-on-doors lady. I think her case is a prostitution/drug deal gone bad, and by freakish coincidence, led authorities to happen upon the dumping grounds of a very underground serial killer.
48 Hours did an episode on this (as did everyone else) which you can watch right… Oh, let me make this easy for you:
Reading “Lost Girls” is really a must for any serious discussion on this case. For the purposes of this post and to maintain the level of sophisticated conversation we like to keep going around here, I will post questions and theories assuming you’ve read.
What a weird and bizarre neighborhood to serve as the setting for all of this! I do not think that the weird local doctor with ONE LEG is really involved in the serial killings. Was he involved in the Shannan Gilbert death? It’s certainly possible. He seems dumb and confident, which is a toxic combination. I tend to side with Kolker’s proposed theory that Gilbert appeared to die while running through the marsh without her pants on was due to a bad reaction to drugs under some shady circumstances.
Interestingly, the bodies appear to have been the work of a least 2 separate killing sprees. There’s the group of 4 women who all went missing towards the end of the first decade of the 21st century and all of whom fit a general description and job-type. And then there are the older bodies, which authorities believe to be dumped by the same killer. One is a child, another is a man in women’s clothing; it doesn’t fit. Right?
Are police still regularly searching the area to see if more bodies turn up? Perhaps the killer is on another break, or in jail on an unrelated crime, and will resume when he can or feels like it. Perhaps the publicity in the area has meant the killer needed to find another dumping ground. Perhaps the mystery will be solved one day. Perhaps we’ll never know.
What do you think?