Last week investigators searching for the remains of missing prostitute Shannan Gilbert on Long Island found a fifth body near Giglo State Beach to go with the four they found last December. That body was quickly determined not to be Gilbert, so today investigators expanded their search of the underbrush between the road and the shore. And in less than five hours they found three more cadavers, similarly unburied and wrapped in burlap, about a mile east down the beach.
Part of the problem with finding the bodies is the underbrush is a thick "4-foot-tall tangle of sea grass punctuated by scrubby pine trees" (not to mention ticks) is difficult to traverse. For today's search investigators used a combination of cadaver dogs, police academy cadets, detectives, volunteer firefighters looking down from fire ladders and helicopters. Turns out an over-reliance on the dogs, who really don't like the terrain, was an issue. "They don't like getting smacked in the face with the bramble," Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer said [reg req'd]. "We learned from that that we can't rely entirely on the dogs." The search is expected to continue tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the medical examiner is only getting ahold of the corpses now, so no identifications have been made but "certainly the medical examiner is going to be looking at the possibility that Shannan Gilbert is one of the remains," Dormer assured reporters.
The fact that all eight bodies have been found unburied in burlap sacks has led many to say they are the work of a serial killer, but Dormer says that—as of this morning—they couldn't yet "connect" the new bodies to the four found previously. Those bodies all turned out to be short-statured, white hookers who used Craigslist to procure their johns. Interestingly last week the Suffolk police said that Gilbert was the only known missing prostitute in the area. As for suspects, if there is one the police are keeping it quiet.