Five bodies have now been found along the Ocean Parkway on a desolate stretch of highway bordered by thick 4-foot-tall sea grass. All five bodies were found while Suffolk police searched for missing Shannon Gilbert, a Jersey City woman who went missing in May 2010. According to the Associated Press and Fox News, all were found wrapped in burlap bags. And none of the remains were of missing 24-year-old Gilbert. But the search continues...
Police believe they have a serial killer on their hands, one that seems to be using Craigslist as a way to choose his victims. Although the fifth set of remains has yet to be identified, authorities know they do not belong to Gilbert. All four of the victims were known to advertise their escort services on Craigslist.
Authorities also believe that the killer murders the women at a different location before bringing the bodies to the Ocean Parkway, which leads to Jones Beach, on Long Island. The barren stretch of road is an apparent dumping ground.
It is as yet uncertain if the suspected serial killer is working alone.
The fifth set of remains was found last week when Suffolk police renewed their efforts to find the missing escort. The four previous sets of recovered remains were discovered in December, all within a quarter mile of each other.
Shannon Gilbert was last seen by her boyfriend, who doubled as her pimp, when he dropped her off at Fire Island to meet a client they had met online. Police said she was last seen running down a street in nearby Oak Beach about an hour later, according to NJ.com.
Family members told Channel 7 News that police also disclosed to them that they had received a 911 call from Gilbert before she disappeared. A frantic Gilbert told the 911 operator that she was running from a crazy man.
But could authorities be facing another Craigslist killer like Philip Markoff? The 23-year-old medical student was accused of killing Julissa Brisman in a Boston hotel in April 2009. He had allegedly met Brisman online via the Craigslist adult services section of the website and was thus given the nickname "Craigslist Killer" by the media. Markoff was arrested after police were able to make a partial identification from surveillance camera footage and track the online traffic to his victims back to his home address. He allegedly had been choosing masseuses as victims for robbery, but the Brisman robbery escalated to murder.
The Long Island serial killer appears to be following the same methodology as the Craigslist Killer when choosing his victims.
Thus far, no suspects have been named in either the Gilbert's missing person case or the killings of the five women found along the beach road.