Today police found three more bodies in the dense brush of a Long Island beach, bringing the body count up to eight. The finding supports the suspicion that the murders are the work of a serial killer, and could make this the most prolific case in the New York area since Joel Rifkin was caught in 1993, according to the Wall Street Journal.
In January, police identified four bodies as Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 25, of Connecticut; Amber Lynn Costello, 27, of Long Island; Melissa Barthelemy, 24, of Buffalo; and Megan Waterman, 22, of Maine. The women all worked as escorts on Craigslist.
Heavy snow postponed the search, but last week a fifth body was found in an area between Oak Beach and Gilgo Beach. Police found the three additional bodies by hovering over the brush on the fire department's ladder trucks, conducting searches on foot, and using cadaver-detecting dogs. The area has been searched seven times since December and is expected to continue in the days ahead.
Police were originally looking for Shannan Gilbert, a 24-year-old New Jersey woman who was last seen in the area on May 1, 2010. Gilbert had arranged to meet a client in the area and a man who lives in Oak Beach says she knocked on his door around 4:45 a.m. begging for help. When the man called the police, Gilbert ran away. Later a man drove past the house in an SUV and said he was looking for her. Police say Gilbert's client isn't a suspect, and the man in the SUV hasn't been seen again. A detective told the Associated Press, "We still believe that Shannan Gilbert is in this area."