OAK BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Investigators spent another day looking for clues in the disappearance of Shannan Gilbert, a prostitute from New Jersey who was last seen 19 months ago.
Thursday’s activity turned up nothing, but officials said they will return on Friday to continue their search and believe they are close to finding her.
“She’s in there some place and we want to do everything we can to find her,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer said.
LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports
Searchers, using an amphibious vehicle with treads and pontoons, dug through the Oak Beach marsh, where they believe Gilbert drowned after hysterically running and screaming for help in May of 2010.
Wednesday afternoon, the Suffolk County Police Department said they found a purse and personal items, including jeans, shoes and a cellphone, during their search of Oak Beach.
“The big mystery since her disappearance is what has actually happened to Shannan Gilbert. Homicide detectives were always of the belief that she was not murdered or was not part of the other finds,” Suffolk County Police Chief of Detectives Dominick Varrone said.
Michele Kutner, a friend of Shannan Gilbert’s mom, Mari, said the family continues to hold out hope.
“You know, we want to find her and Mari wants to find her, her family wants to find her and bring her home. You know, hopefully for Christmas,” she told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera.
Kutner also said that she does not believe the police theory about Gilbert drowning.
“You know, I’m not saying it’s the same person as the serial killer — we don’t know that yet, you know. I don’t know, something’s not right here,” she said.
Kutner told CBS 2′s Jennifer McLogan she believes, like Gilbert’s mother, that Shannan Gilbert met with foul play.
“I believe that, too. I really do. This is evil, this is an evil place,” she said.
It was while searching for Gilbert in December of 2010 that police eventually stumbled upon 10 sets of human remains along Ocean Parkway on Gilgo Beach.
Police have said the remains belong to eight women, a man and a toddler. At least five of the victims were prostitutes.
Dormer has said he believes a single serial killer is likely responsible for the murders of all 10 victims.
What are your thoughts on the police’s theory about Gilbert? Share your thoughts in the comments section below…