OAK BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Police resumed their search Monday for a New Jersey prostitute who disappeared last year after visiting a home on Long Island and ended the day with no new clues.
About three dozen local and state police along with cadaver dogs resumed the search in desolate areas along Ocean Parkway in Nassau and Suffolk counties. They were back looking for the first time in months for any clues in what’s become a year-long serial murder mystery, reports CBS 2’s Emily Smith.
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“This time of year is very conducive. The foliage is off and insects are reduced,” said Deputy Inspector Stuart Cameron of the Suffolk County Police Special Patrol Bureau.
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Last December, 10 sets of human remains were found, including scattered body parts of eight women, one man and a toddler along Ocean Parkway. Five of the victims have been identified as sex workers.
Monday’s search covered an area from the Robert Moses Causeway near Captree west to Tobay Beach.
Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer said detectives now think one person is probably responsible for all 10 of the deaths dating back to 1996.
“Because of the dumping ground, the sex trade business, the dismemberment, we have people in the police department that have other theories, but we are leaning towards that theory,” Dormer told WCBS 880′s Sophia Hall last week.
The news sent shockwaves through the community, since a cadaver dog found those remains while searching for just one person, missing craigslist escort Shannan Gilbert, who called for help from the beach community on May 1, 2010.
Gus Coletti called 911 when Gilbert banged on his door for help.
“I called 911 right away. As soon as I told her that she took off again,” Coletti said.
On Monday many of the same questions remain: is Gilbert still alive? Who committed the crimes? Is it one person or many?
“We are not going to answer any questions that are general to the investigation today, only to the search today,” Deputy Inspector Cameron said.
Given extremely limited information Monday, some Suffolk County residents questioned the timing of all of this. The one-day resumed search came during a week of publicity for an upcoming documentary on the investigation and the end of the Suffolk County police commissioner’s reign.
“I just don’t think they’re going to find them,” said Dan Galasso of West Islip.
“I would hope they would do it. Hopefully nobody else is going to be victimized,” another person said.
No date has been given for when or if the search will resume.
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