updated 4/13/2011 2:50:28 PM ET 2011-04-13T18:50:28

The discovery of nearly a dozen sets of human remains in Long Island, N.Y., has set off a massive police dragnet, attracted national media attention and -- as is always the case in any high profile serial killer investigation -- resulted in rampant speculation.

Generic profiles of the serial killer are emerging, describing him as a middle-aged white male, with above-average intelligence -- who may or may not stand out among the island's more than 7,400,000 residents. Recent headlines have also centered on the supposition that the killer is most likely an ex-cop who is familiar with investigative techniques.

"[These are] among the many sorts of mythologies that creep into news stories and, sadly, into some police work," forensic psychiatrist Dr. Park Dietz told Investigation Discovery.

So who is the killer? Dietz, president of Park Dietz & Associates, which has given court testimony or consultation on numerous serial killer cases, including those involving Jeffrey Dahmer and the D.C. snipers, offers his own theories.

Investigation Discovery: Infamous Serial Killers

Police in Long Island began stumbling upon bodies in December when they found the remains of four women between Oak Beach and Gilgo Beach whose bodies were in an advanced state of decomposition. All four have been identified. Since that initial discovery, the remains of four additional unidentified people have been found in the same geographical area. Authorities are also awaiting the results of tests on two sets of bones believed to be human that were found on the beach Monday.

"Look at this from the offender's point of view," said Dietz. "If you are a male whose primary sexual interest is serious torture, watching the victim die as she is strangled or having sex with a corpse, it is hard to find a consenting partner."

At least two of the Long Island victims died from asphyxiation, according to death certificates.

"Most people who have one of those desires have multiple inhibitions -- religious beliefs, morality, social conscience and other factors -- that inhibit them from doing whatever they wish," Dietz continued. "It is not the perverse desire alone that leads someone with these desires to kill; they also have to be lacking those inhibitors."

The pervasive nature of the aforementioned desires goes without saying. However, experts have found that those who are not limited by their inhibitions also typically suffer from psychopathy.

"It would include a lack of conscience, lack of feelings and of participatory anxiety," Dietz said. "So, the vast majority of sexual serial killers have both kinds of conditions: the paraphilia -- the sexual deviation -- and the combination of anti-social and narcissistic personality traits that is also now called psychopathy."

In addition to the social and moral inhibitions that the average human being carries with him or her is the fear of the potential consequence for his/her actions. Potential penalties, however, are of little concern to the serial killer.

"The calculus of the offender differs from that of the law-abiding citizen in several ways," Dietz said. "Law-abiding citizens imagine they will be caught most of the time for bad things they do, [whereas] offenders are certain they won't be caught."

The total number of victims in the Long Island serial killer case is currently thought to be about 10. There is a possibility the same killer is also responsible for at least four murders that occurred in New Jersey more than four years ago.

On Monday, the Atlantic County Prosecutor's office told Investigation Discovery that authorities are looking into a possible connection.

For ongoing coverage of the Long Island serial killer case, go to David Lohr's blog page on InvestigationDiscovery.com.

© 2012 Discovery Channel


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