As the parents of a Stony Brook University student who went missing in 1998 wait to find out if their son is the unidentified John Doe found among the murdered prostitutes on Gilgo State Beach, some uninvolved criminologists are publicly doubting the current theory that the beach was a dumping ground for at least two killers.
Police are now trying to connect the skeletal remains of a young Asian man found on the beach to Jimmy Tsui, a 20-year-old Stonybrook student who disappeared without a trace in August 1998. Tsui is the only Asian male from New York listed in publicly available databases of missing persons. "If it's him, then it is a relief," his brother, Tom Tsui, told Newsday [Sub. req'd]. "It's been very bad for the family and even some of his friends still ask about him." Unfortunately there is already some evidence the body does not belong to Tsui. As DNA analysis continues a law enforcement source told the paper that "a preliminary visual exam of the remains revealed some differences from Tsui's physical description."
Meanwhile, the Daily News has rounded up a former detectives and a forensic psychologist who doubt the current theory of there being multiple killers—one who killed the four women found in December, one who killed the two dismembered women, one who killed the young Asian man and, assuming it was murdered, one who killed the toddler.
"I wouldn't be so quick to be talking about multiple killers," retired NYPD detective and textbook author Vernon Geberth told the tabloid. "The probability of having two serial killers using the same dumping ground is very, very remote—to the point where I don't buy into it."
And a forensic psychologist, N.G. Berrill, cautiously agrees saying that "That coincidence, in and of itself, would be remarkable."
The two point out that bodies disposed of in different ways don't necessarily mean different killers. Instead they could simply imply that the one killer tried out decapitation and then found he could get his rocks off without it. "I am looking at a serial killer who has basically progressed," said Geberth. "He has become more effective at disposing of the bodies. He doesn't have to go through all the work of decapitating his victims."
But others think there is a good chance the police are on the right track seeking out at least two killers. Forensic psychologist Barbara Kirwin chimes in with this chilling point: "We are not talking about a person as much as we are talking about a place. That desolate stretch of Gilgo Beach is a haunted graveyard, and what holds it all together is that it is an unpatrolled, completely private and deserted place where you can dump a body."