Reporting Mike Xirinachs
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Suffolk County police now say the remains found at Ocean Parkway along Gilgo Beach on Tuesday night are definitely those of a human.
Wednesday afternoon, Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer said the homicide investigation has now widened.
“Remains that we now know to be human remains were located by an officer from the Marine Bureau off Ocean Parkway, west of Cedar Beach,” he said. “There may be clues available now with this body that will help the homicide investigation move forward.”
The remains were found in the same area where the bodies of four other women, wrapped in burlap, were discovered by cadaver-sniffing dogs last December.
Police came upon the bodies during their search for missing New Jersey prostitute Shannan Gilbert. The medical examiner will determine if the remains discovered Tuesday are Gilbert’s.
The current search was the largest in a few months, timed to take advantage of the thinning, winter-stripped brush and beach erosion during the winter months.
Forensics teams already have DNA matches to all four other victims found in the same area: 24-year-old Melissa Barthelemy of Buffalo, 25-year-old Maureen Brainard-Barnes of Connecticut, 27-year-old Amber Lynn Costello of North Babylon, Long Island and 22-year-old Megan Waterman of Scarborough, Maine.
Police had raided an Oak Beach home where detectives say Gilbert responded to a Craigslist ad for sex. Joseph Brewer was among the last to see Gilbert alive when he invited her to a party at his home last May.
Police cleared Brewer as a suspect in Gilbert’s disappearance and returned his white jeep after testing it for DNA evidence.
“My prayers go out to the family,” Brewer said on January 24. Asked if he felt vindicated, he responded: “No. I am not a victim.”