"I have nothing to do with those bodies," convicted serial killer Joel Rifkin matter-of-factly told Newsday [sub. req'd], regarding rumors that the skull and bones found on Monday could be his victims (four of the 17 women he has admitted to killing were never recovered). His denial from prison came as new details emerged regarding the suspected serial killer's phone calls to one of his victim's younger sister and police continue to search the land, air and sea near Gilgo State Beach for more clues.
Beyond denying any relationship to the recently discovered bones, Rifkin also provided his own theory as to the identity of the killer:
He thinks the culprit could be a local whose line of work would allow him to go unnoticed if he carries burlap bags, like the clam fishermen who frequented the same South Shore area where he went fishing with his dad during his childhood.
"My guess is it would be someone like a landscaper, contractor or a fisherman," said Rifkin, who is serving the 15th year of a 203-year sentence for his killing spree.
Of course, Rifkin (who has to be loving all of this renewed attention, right?) isn't the only person who is focusing in on the burlap sacks, so are our commenters. And investigators aren't really that interested in Rifkin's musings, saying just that "all avenues are being investigated."
Meanwhile the Times persuaded Lynn Barthelemy, the mother of victim Melissa Barthelemy, to give them more details about the phone calls from the killer her other daughter, Amanda, received after Melissa disappeared. Though detectives have asked her to keep the details of the calls hidden (so as to better weed out false confessions) the distraught mother revealed that the killer didn't admit that Melissa was dead until his sixth and final call. In that conversation he reportedly taunted Amanda "Do you think you'll ever speak to her again?" When she said she hoped to, "the man on the phone said that he had killed Melissa after having sex with her. Several seconds later, the caller hung up."
Back on the beach, investigators yesterday worked through thick patches of thicket to find things noticed by helicopters overhead (the FBI fixed-wing plane sent to take high-resolution photographs only came in the afternoon). So far items they've uncovered include: "plastic bags, a tarp and what appeared to be a makeshift shelter, apparently years old."
As for the divers searching nearby Hemlock Cove (a search which will continue today)? They appeared to remove something from the water in a plastic tub yesterday, but officials are declining to comment on what it was.