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NY Police: 'We Could Have a Serial Killer'

Dec 14, 2010 – 3:57 PM
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David Lohr

David Lohr Senior Crime Reporter

(Dec. 14) -- Authorities fear a serial killer may be operating on New York's Long Island after four bodies were found dumped on a beach.

"I don't think it's a coincidence that four bodies ended up in this area, you know? That's a good direction to go, that they were all dumped here by the same person or persons," Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer told reporters.

NY Police: 'We Could Have a Serial Killer'
Seth Wenig, AP
Authorities search by the side of the road at Cedar Beach, near Babylon, N.Y., on Tuesday. Police looking for a missing prostitute on Long Island's Fire Island have discovered three bodies and a set of skeletal remains near Oak Beach since Saturday.
Dormer said police are considering the possibility that a serial killer could be responsible.

"I'm not going to say that, but certainly we're looking at that," Dormer said. "We're looking at that, that we could have a serial killer."

The bodies were found on Oak Beach. The first set of remains was discovered during a search for Shonnan Gilbert, a 24-year-old prostitute from New Jersey who has been missing since May, The Associated Press reported.

Three more bodies were found Monday in the same area.

Authorities believe the remains were dumped in the area over an 18-month period. Two of the victims were found wrapped in burlap sacks. Due to the advanced state of decomposition, authorities have only been able to identify two of the victims as female. The gender of the other two victims is pending further examination.

"They weren't clustered together, and it appears that they were thrown out of a vehicle into foliage, into the area that's off the roadway so that they wouldn't be seen," Dormer told CBS' 101 WINS. "It appears to be an area that the bodies were dumped."

The case is eerily reminiscent of that of Joel Rifkin, a Long Island resident who was convicted of murdering at least nine women from 1989 to 1993 in New York City.

Police have set up a command post along Ocean Parkway and remain on the scene searching the area for additional evidence. The FBI is assisting in the investigation.

"We're going to continue to search in this area to find out if there's any more evidence, forensics, that kind of thing, and if there's possibly more bodies," Dormer said.

If the bodies are the work of a serial killer, he will be a lot more careful, knowing that authorities are on to him, said former FBI agent Harold Copus, now head of Copus Security Consultants in Atlanta.

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"If he strikes again, he now knows what is in the media and he will be more careful. He won't use burlap sacks and he won't dump the victims in the same area," Copus told AOL News.

"The longer serial killers are able to stay in the business of killing people, they become more sophisticated. They are learning as they go," Copus said.

He said if a serial killer is responsible in this case, the killings will accelerate.

"The cycle of homicides will increase. If it has been, like they said, 18 months since he started, before you know it the cycle will start to compress. It always does," he said. "Killing is like a drug to these guys. Just like a junkie, they need more."
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