Sources: Long Island Serial Killer Probe May Be Targeting 2 Killers
OAK BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — There may be two killers — not one — on Long Island.
That’s what law enforcement sources are telling CBS News about the investigation into the 10 sets of human remains found along Ocean Parkway.
On Wednesday the search for more bodies moved from land to water.
In hazy drizzle masked scuba divers with tanks and metal detectors cordoned off sections of Hemlock Cove between Oak and Gilgo beaches for a grid by grid search for more remains and for Shannan Gilbert, whose disappearance first sparked the investigation.
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“This is not an episode of ‘CSI’,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.
Suffolk’s police commissioner urged patience as forensic teams and medical examiners work overtime to solve the mystery of the latest six remains.
“At this time we will not speculate on age, gender or condition of victims,” Dormer said.
When asked about the search for potential suspects, Dormer said, “I’m not going to get into names for obvious reasons, but we are doing a lot of interviews.”
Dormer also debunked any link to four prostitutes found dead in Atlantic City, and said they’ve received 600 tips and recovered countless clues and evidence.
A source told CBS News there may be two patterns and two killers, perhaps separating the first four and last six sets of remains. The first remains found Monday morning were about 1.5 miles east of the entrance to Jones Beach on Long Island. Later in the day, a skull was found several miles away.
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The latest victims’ bones could have languished in the spots they were found for years. Long Island’s notorious serial killer Joel Rifkin confessed in 1993 to strangling and dismembering 17 women. He spoke to CBS 2 from an upstate prison recently, where he is serving out his life sentence.
“Three were dismembered. Three were in oil drums. Some were in water. Some were on land,” Rifkin said.
Former Nassau County Assistant District Attorney Fred Klein prosecuted Rifkin and said he sees similarities.
“The same types of people that Joel Rifkin targeted, young women, usually drug addicted, engaged in prostitution. They make easy targets, they make easy victims and they go undetected as missing for a long period of time,” Klein said.
Investigators are now working with FBI profilers developing a potential suspect – thought to be male, white, between the ages of 25 and 40, intelligent, savvy and street smart.
The divers will continue this week and aircraft with high resolution-imaging technology will fly overhead.
On Thursday cadaver-sniffing dogs and crime scene personnel from Nassau and Suffolk counties will return to Ocean Parkway to continue the search for more bodies.
Gilbert, a prostitute from Jersey City, was last seen in May by Long Island doctor Peter Hackett, who said he saw Gilbert running at night near Oak Beach, looking both sick and distressed.
“These people need closure and we need to find this girl if she is alive,” he said.
A Nassau County medical examiner’s office confirmed the remains found this week are human, bringing the total to 10 sets found along Ocean Parkway in recent months.
“It’s really shocking that it happened here,” said Vanessa Perez of Valley Stream.
“I think this is an area that the killer feels very safe in and there’s no reason to believe that it’s not the same killer. There are some subtle differences. The first four were covered in burlap, the last four were not, but that doesn’t mean they’re different people,” said Lawrence Kobilinsky of John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
As police try to figure out if they are dealing with one or more killers, they also want to know who called the teen sister of Bronx victim Melissa Barthelemy not long after she disappeared.
“I just know he’s a sick individual and needs to be caught as soon as possible. We’re afraid because he’s still out there,” said Lynn Barthelemy, Melissa’s mother.
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