Image: Police search in the brush near Babylon, N.Y.
Seth Wenig  /  AP
Police search in the brush by the side of the road on Cedar Beach, near Babylon, N.Y., on Tuesday. Investigators are considering the possibility that a serial killer may have dumped four bodies along the same quarter-mile stretch of beachside road.
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 12/15/2010 2:55:48 PM ET 2010-12-15T19:55:48

New York authorities determined Wednesday that four decomposed bodies found along a remote beach are all women.

Homicide detectives were scrambling to learn the identities of the victims. The first of the decomposed corpses was found Saturday by an officer and his cadaver dog. Three more, all scattered within a quarter-mile, were found two days later.

Story: Serial killer? 4 bodies found on Long Island

Now, authorities want to apprehend a possible serial killer.

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"We're looking at that — that we could have a serial killer," Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer told reporters at a briefing before officers and the cadaver dog resumed searching in and around the Ocean Parkway for possibly more victims.

Dormer said in a brief statement that investigators from his department met with officials from the FBI's New York office on Wednesday. The agents offered any assistance they could provide, but an FBI spokesman said it was not immediately clear what services Long Island police would require. Dormer had previously said the FBI could be helpful in identifying the victims.

The meeting came as investigators were looking into the disappearance of two out-of-state women working as prostitutes last seen on Long Island. 

"I don't think its a coincidence that four bodies ended up in this area," Dormer said.

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.

Meanwhile, the mother of a Maine woman who also worked as a Craigslist escort and went missing from a hotel on Long Island said police told her Wednesday that her daughter might be one of four.

Twenty-two-year-old Megan Waterman, of Scarborough, Maine, was last seen in June in Hauppage, N.Y., where she went with her boyfriend.

Waterman's mother, Lorraine Ela, told The Associated Press that a Scarborough detective told her he was "leaning toward one of the four victims being Megan, but he's not 100 percent guaranteed."

Previous unsolved killings
Dormer said the local police were now working with the FBI because the victims may have come from outside of New York state,the Long Island Press reported.

Police believe the four were killed elsewhere and then brought to the site, a narrow strip of land that divides the Great South Bay from the Atlantic Ocean. The four-lane parkway runs through the middle, connecting Jones Beach State Park with several state and town-run beaches to its east.

The Long Island Press reported that Dormer said the bodies appeared to have been thrown from a vehicle about 500 feet apart in some cases.

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Dormer said the search of the vast, remote area could take days or longer.

The discovery drew comparisons to a 4-year-old New Jersey case in which four prostitutes' bodies were found in a drainage ditch in Egg Harbor Township, just outside Atlantic City and about a mile from the beach. Those killings remain unsolved.

Atlantic County Prosecutor Theodore Housel said Tuesday that Atlantic County detectives were still investigating the bodies found in November 2006 and had spoken with authorities in New York about their case.

"We have been in contact with authorities in Suffolk County, New York," he said. "It would not be fair for us to comment on their investigation."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Video: Police fear serial killer working Long Island, N.Y.

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