Saturday, February 18, 2012

On Grim Musings

I may be breaking this story a couple of hours ahead of the mass media (oh the scandal), but I know the information has officially been "released" so I'm breaking no taboos here by saying that skeletal remains have been found out in Manorville at around 6:30 p.m. yesterday. This is an important development because, as my Long Islander readers might be aware, the Suffolk County Police is attempting to identify the serial killer (or serial killers) who has been killing individuals and dumping their bodies in Manorville and Gilgo Beach over the last approximately 15 years. Here is a very brief timeline of the bodies discovered in this investigation for those unfamiliar with the case:
On May 1, 2010, a craigslist prostitute, Shannan Gilbert, goes missing after an appointment at a john’s house.

On December 11, 2010, a set of unidentified skeletal remains is found in the area near Gilgo Beach and Oak Island during a training exercise conducted in the area of Shannan Gilbert’s disappearance. Body later identified as Melissa Barthelemy.

On December 13, 2010, three additional sets of skeletal remains discovered in vicinity of remains discovered on December 11. Remains later identified as Amber Lynn Costello, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, and Megan Waterman. All four identified sets of remains have ties to the escort industry.

On March 29, 2011, an additional set of remains is discovered during a resumed search for Shannan Gilbert. The remains would later be identified as belonging to Jessica Taylor, another known escort, whose partial remains were previously discovered on July 26, 2003, in Manorville on the northwest corner of Halsey Manor Road and the LIE.

On April 4, 2011, three additional sets of remains are discovered in the ongoing search along Ocean Parkway. One set of remains, designated Jane Doe Six, is believed to be the partial remains of an unidentified female whose body was also originally discovered in Manorville on November 19, 2000 near Halsey Manor Road. Another set of remains, the body of a still unidentified female toddler, was discovered nearby. Further west along Ocean Parkway, a set of remains believed to belong to an unidentified Asian male were also discovered.

On April 11, 2011, two additional sets of remains are found in Nassau County. One set of remains is suspected to be related to the toddler found seven miles away in Suffolk, possibly mother and child. The other set is later linked by DNA to a set of remains found in Davis Park on Fire Island in Nassau County in 1996.

On December 13, 2011 a set of remains that appear to be Shannan Gilbert’s are found in the Oak Beach area. The ME soon confirms the body belongs to Shannan Gilbert.
The case is extraordinarily disturbing and bizarre and for brevity, I've left out many of the most confusing and confounding developments in the case (including the likelihood that the disappearance of Shannan Gilbert is NOT related to the bodies discovered in her search).

But, to introduce a moral quandary, I'd like to return to the recently discovered remains (which, for the record, have not yet been identified as human) in Manorville. Given the very sad reality that this most likely represents a dead human being, and there is no bringing back a person from the dead, is it morally reprehensible to hope that the remains are related to the Long Island serial killer(s)? By that, I mean, another victim in this case introduces a whole new line of evidentiary exploration, particular if we can ID the victim. There are new forensics and MOs to be evaluated. New lines of inquiry. If we can ID a new victim, we can explore his/her families, professional acquaintances, hangouts, email histories, hobbies, habits (good or bad), personal history, etc. Again, I want to make it clear that I am not rooting for new bodies to be found - now or ever. But now that a body HAS been found, and it has been found in the vicinity of previously discovered victims (see map below), is it morally OK to hope that the body is somehow related to the other murders, predicated on the belief that it makes the catching of the serial killer(s) more likely? Clearly the investigation has hit a brick wall at this point and it could use any additional information it can gather.

View Larger Map

As a reminder, anyone who believes they do have information relevant to this investigation should call Suffolk County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.

1 comment:

  1. I'd say that's moral. I'd also say that I like a world with one murderer better than I like a world with more than one murderer. Though maybe that's the wrong way to think about it because multiple one-offs is actually probably less menacing than one serial killer. Either way, I'd say it's always morally safe to hope for justice.