Image: Police search beach area
Seth Wenig  /  AP
Authorities search at Cedar Beach, near Babylon, N.Y., on Tuesday. Police looking for a missing prostitute have discovered four bodies in this area since Saturday. news services
updated 12/14/2010 2:44:08 PM ET 2010-12-14T19:44:08

Investigators are considering the possibility that a serial killer may have dumped four bodies along the same quarter-mile stretch of beachside road, a police official said Tuesday.

Police looking for a missing prostitute on Long Island's Fire Island have found four badly decomposed bodies near Cedar Beach since Saturday. All four were found only feet from the roadway, and it appears each had been thrown from a vehicle, Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer said.

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The beach is about three miles from where the missing woman was headed when she disappeared May 1, but Dormer said there is no indication yet that hers was one of the four bodies.

Forensic experts have determined that at least two of the four bodies are female, but identifying them could take weeks, Dormer said. Experts were taking DNA samples and examining dental records.

"We're looking at that — that we could have a serial killer," Dormer said in response to a reporter's question.

Dormer said the four appeared to have been killed elsewhere and then brought to the site, a wind-swept strip of land less than 1,000 yards wide that divides the Great South Bay from the Atlantic Ocean. The roadway connects the landmark Jones Beach State Park with several state and town-run beaches to its east, including Cedar Beach.

The remains were badly decomposed, but appeared to have been dumped over an 18-month period, Dormer said.

The first set of remains were found Saturday as police were following up on a missing-person report. The three other bodies were found Monday.

Dormer said police had been looking for 24-year-old Shonnan Gilbert, of Jersey City, N.J. He said Gilbert worked as a prostitute and arranged through Craigslist to meet a client on Fire Island.

Police officers returned to the scene Tuesday with a cadaver dog, searching the area for additional bodies. Despite a howling wind, temperatures in the low 20s and a coating of snow on the ground, Dormer said the dog, a black Labrador, would still be able to do its work. He said the search of the vast, remote area could take days or longer.

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