Video: More remains found in hunt for serial killer

  1. Closed captioning of: More remains found in hunt for serial killer

    >> for a serial killer in new york led to a grim new discovery. two more sets of bones possibly linked to the case. ron allen has the latest. good morning to you.

    >> reporter: good morning, meredith. this case continues to take many bizarre twists and turns. the latest police search started as a routine investigation. they didn't expect to find much. very quickly they discovered two more sets of remains believed to be human, bringing the possible number of victims in the case to ten so far. an eerie thick fog added to the suspense as nearly 100 officers combed through brush trying to solve a mystery growing more gruesome each day. in hours a cadaver dog found what authorities called several bones. later, not far away , another grim discovery -- a skull.

    >> it's all been startling. all of it has been. i don't have a reaction to you because it's amazing that we are finding these things.

    >> reporter: authorities first started finding bodies in december, dumped just off the popular summer beach roads, desolate this time of year. they were searching for 24-year-old shannon gilbert, last seen fleeing a man's house saying someone was trying to kill her. four bodies at first, all believed to be prostitutes who advertised on craigslist. then four more bodies were found in recent weekses just a few miles from the other. still unidentified.

    >> collectively we want to bring to justice this animal that has obviously taken the lives of a number of people.

    >> if all the deaths are linked, what kind of person is likely behind them?

    >> you're looking for somebody who is helonistic, probably thrill-seeking and sexual.

    >> reporter: are they likely to find more bodies?

    >> i think it's entirely possible that they will find more in that area. and the further out they go, the more human remains they may find.

    >> reporter: the search for clues has reached hundreds of miles away to atlantic city , new jersey, where four women who worked the streets were found dead in a ditch back in 2006 . investigators in both states wondering if similar unsolved murders are connected. the latest we are hearing in new york is that it's very unlikely that police will conduct a search today. there is stormy weather in the forecast and that can make it difficult to operate in thick brush. with ten victims already, police say they have enough to work with for now. carl?

    >> ron allen , thanks. michelle segona is a crime reporter. good morning.

    >> good morning.

    >> i know you are working sources on this story. how soon will we know if the latest remains are human and if they belong to one person or two?

    >> well, the latest remains found yesterday, we should know pretty quickly if they are human remains or animal remains. yesterday there were a number of animal remains found, as you can imagine, when you search a 4.5-mile radius. basically shoulder to shoulder looking for evidence and information like that. now as far as the identities on the most recent bodies, the one found in march, the three found in april, if it mirrors anything that happened in december of the other four bodies found, the process should take a month. those bodies are at the new york city medical examiner's office. once the identities are figured out they will then be brought back to suffolk county .

    >> i want to ask about the bodies discovered in december. the women believed to be prostitutes advertising on craigslist. their bodies were found 500 feet apart, but the latest round are more scattered. does that suggest the killer or killers may have changed the routine or maybe that there are more than one killer?

    >> you know, anything is possible at this point. if you look at the four that were found in december, as you mentioned, 500 feet apart. then the discovery in march, that was about a mile east. then the other three were a little bit closer together. then the two discoveries found yesterday were actually a lot further away and in different areas. and they were pieces of possible human remains . what instantly connected in my brain back in december was the atlantic city case. i was on the ground there, i was on the streets with the prostitutes in the evenings, with many people trying to figure out who the killer could have been there. those bodies were placed 60 yards away from the next, face down in a ditch behind the golden key motel. their heads were all facing east. none had their shoes or socks on but they were clothed. the information i have from the bodies found in december is that their clothing may have been removed.

    >> there's been speculation that the suspect might have a connection to law enforcement making these brief telephone calls from crowded locations difficult to trace. do you think that's a possibili possibility?

    >> you know, at this point, you don't have to -- the old days of you have to keep the cell phone call under three minutes or fwra investigators will track you, it's a long time ago. pick up a phone now and investigators can track you. doesn't matter if it's a throw away phone, your regular verizon or at&t cell phone . what happens is, especially on the throw away phones there is subscriber information, other information which leads back to a carrier. if that's connecting with someone else they can track some information. if that killer is responsible, especially for the first four bodies, the last four and the two bones we don't know the identifies they can figure out some information quickly. i'm sure they have it.

    >> such a chilling case. we don't know if we are near the end yet. michelle,

NBC, msnbc.com and news services
updated 4/12/2011 5:07:35 PM ET 2011-04-12T21:07:35

A helicopter hovered near a New York beach highway as authorities searched for human remains in an ongoing investigation of a possible serial killer.

Police were completing a search of the Jones Beach area on Tuesday. A search by officers on foot was declared over and the aerial search was to be the final sweep of the area.

On Monday, officers found what they suspect are human remains in two separate locations near Ocean Parkway in Nassau County. A medical examiner on Tuesday confirmed the remains are human.

That follows the discovery in neighboring Suffolk County of eight sets of human remains since December. Police found the remains while searching for a missing New Jersey woman last seen working in the area as an escort. She has not been found.

Monday's discovery came as police expanded a search from Long Island's Suffolk County westward into the Jones Beach area of Nassau County, just over the border from New York City.

The expanded search was prompted by Suffolk's discovery in the past two weeks of four sets of unidentified human remains; the bodies of four women who worked as Craigslist escorts were found in the same area in December, leading authorities to suspect that they may be contending with a serial killer.

The highway runs along a barrier beach island south of Long Island and is home to several county and state-run parks featuring miles of white sandy beaches about 45 minutes from Manhattan.

Detective Lt. Kevin Smith, a Nassau County police spokesman, said the two sets of remains found Monday — separated by several miles along the north side of Ocean Parkway, were sent to the medical examiner's office to confirm whether they are human. Police also made several discoveries of bones Monday that were quickly determined to be animals.

"It appears to be a skull, whether it is human or not, is unknown at this point," Smith told reporters of the second discovery of suspected remains Monday. He did not offer any description of the possible remains found earlier in the day.

Nassau joined the search this week after Suffolk police found eight victims dumped just steps from Ocean Parkway, a highway leading to the popular Jones Beach State Park.

Police in December were following up on the disappearance of a Jersey City, N.J., woman seen working as a Craigslist escort in the Long Island area last spring when they happened upon the first of the corpses. None of the victims, however, is 24-year-old Shannan Gilbert, whose disappearance remains an open case.

Detectives said it appears some victims had been dead for a long time. The first of the four victims found late last year went missing in 2007; a second in 2009 and the remaining two in June and September 2010.

Suffolk investigators ended a four-day search of a seven mile stretch of Ocean Parkway last week. Approximately 125 officers from Nassau, as well as state police and state park police, took part in the Nassau search. Smith said officers might return to the beach on Tuesday to continue searching, although he said predictions of inclement weather could alter those plans.

The killer appears to be familiar with police investigative techniques, and may be the person who made taunting phone calls to the teenage sister of one of the victims, The New York Times reported.

“He is a guy who is aware of how we utilize technology,” one investigator told the Times. “Frankly, people are thinking maybe he could be a cop” — either one still in law enforcement or one who has moved on.

Criminal profiler Pat Brown, author of "The Profiler: My Life Hunting Serial Killers and Psychopaths," said the killer probably is very familiar with the area.

"He really does know that area very, very well. I believe he probably lives near all those bodies," Brown said on NBC's "TODAY" show.

Earlier Monday, Smith sought to tamp down speculation of who may be responsible for the killings, because no suspect has been named.

"For anyone to come out and say a specific person, a specific occupation, or a specific type, I think, is unfair," he told reporters. "I think it's mere suspicion, it's mere speculation. Right now it could be anybody."

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Map: Police continue to find bodies near beach

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments