Police on Tuesday night located human remains on a Long Island beach where the bodies of several prostitutes were found, according to a source close to the investigation. One of the women found on that beach was identified in January as a Norwich woman.
The remains were found near Oak Beach about a half mile away from the body of Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 25, of Norwich, and several others were found over the winter. It's still unclear whether the remains found on Tuesday are male or female. At least three canine units, complete with dogs and Suffolk police officers, searched the brush along Ocean Parkway in Gilgo Beach.
A mobile command post sat in a parking lot nearby and, according to observers, a police helicopter also scanned the area from the air.
Police resumed their search Tuesday in hopes of finding Shannon Gilbert, 24, a New Jersey prostitute who disappeared after she visited a client near Oak Beach last May.
"It's scary," said resident Tom Newman said of the police search. "Just across the street. It's not something you see every day."
Police were searching for Gilbert last year when they found the remains of four other women along the coast. Her remains were not among those four.
Investigators believe the bodies were systematically dumped over a period of 18 months or longer, and that the killings are linked.
The women's causes of death have yet to be revealed; but it's believed each was killed in the same way by the same person or persons, said Suffolk DA Thomas Spota at a January news conference.
"This fits the definition of what a serial killer would be," Spota added.
Back in January, Suffolk's police commissioner had promised to resume the search for Gilbert when spring weather arrived. It appeared investigators believe Gilbert's body may have been dumped here and are exhausting every opportunity to find her remains.