NY remains are missing prostitute, police confirm

Published:

OAK BEACH, N.Y. (AP) -- Bones found in a coastal wetland on New York's Long Island this week are the remains of missing prostitute Shannan Gilbert, investigators confirmed Saturday.

The New Jersey woman disappeared in the spring of 2010 after fleeing from a client's home in Oak Beach, a small community on one of the barrier islands that line Long Island's Atlantic coast.

She was last seen racing into the night toward the marsh where her remains were discovered Tuesday.

Suffolk County Police had announced at the time that they were all but certain they had found Gilbert's body. On Saturday the department said the county's medical examiner had confirmed its suspicion.

A cause of death has yet to be determined.

Police who were hunting for Gilbert wound up finding 10 other sets of human remains that had been discarded along a nearby beach parkway over two decades. All of the victims identified so far are missing sex trade workers.

Police are investigating whether they were left there by a serial killer, or perhaps multiple murderers who just happened to use the same isolated stretch of beach roadway as a dumping ground.

Suffolk County's police commissioner, Richard Dormer, has said, however, that he believes Gilbert's death may have been accidental, and unconnected to the others. The location of her remains suggests that she was trying to slog her way through the marsh to get to a road, became exhausted or trapped in the muck, and drowned.

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