The notorious ‘Gilgo Beach serial killer’ in Long Island could also be responsible for a string of murders 170 miles away in Atlantic City, a new film suggests.
The compelling theory was presented in Lifetime’s latest movie The Long Island Serial Killer: A Mother’s Hunt for Justice, which chronicles the search for the person who murdered at least 10 people whose bodies were found on Gilgo and Oak beaches in Suffolk County, New York, between 2010 and 2011.
The film posits that the same assassin could also be behind the murders of four women four years earlier in New Jersey, known as the ‘Atlantic City serial killing’.
In that case, each of the women were strangled and left in a drainage ditch behind a motel in Egg Harbor Township in 2006.
The killer was dubbed the ‘Eastbound Strangler’ because the victims were all found with their heads facing east.
The similarities between the two cases are striking. In the Atlantic City case, all four victims were female sex workers killed by strangling. In the Long Island case, most of the victims were female sex workers, and several of them were strangled.
Perhaps the most disturbing similarity is that both cases have yet to be solved many years on.
The notorious ‘Gilgo Beach serial killer’ in Long Island could also be responsible for a string of murders 170 miles away in Atlantic City, a new Lifetime movie suggests. Pictured: Police search the beach in Suffolk County in April 2011 after the remains of 10 people were found nearby – launching a hunt for a serial killer that still hasn’t been solved nearly 10 years later
Four years before the first Long Island victim was found, Atlantic City police found four women strangled in a drainage ditch (pictured) behind a motel.
The Long Island Serial Killer case began in May 2010 with the disappearance of Shannan Gilbert, a 24-year-old sex worker who vanished after leaving a client’s house on foot near Gilgo Beach.
A police officer and his cadaver dog were searching for Gilbert’s body in a thicket near the beach when they happened upon the remains of a different woman.
Within days, three other bodies were found, all within a short walk of one another.
By spring 2011, that number had climbed to 10 sets of human remains – eight women, a man and a toddler.
The Long Island Serial Killer case began in May 2010 with the disappearance of Shannan Gilbert (pictured), a 24-year-old sex worker who vanished after leaving a client’s house on foot near Gilgo Beach
The first four bodies found were those of women in their 20s who worked as prostitutes, according to police.
Maureen Brainard Barnes, 25, went missing on July 9, 2007. Her remains were found on December 13, 2010.
Megan Waterman, 22, who had a daughter, went missing on June 6, 2010. Her body was also found on December 13, 2010.
The remains of Melissa Barthelemy, 24, who had been living in the Bronx at the time, and Amber Lynn Costello, 27, were also found on December 13, 2010.
Barthelemy’s body was the first to be found. She went missing on July 12, 2009. Costello disappeared on September 2, 2010.
In March 2011, police discovered the skull of a 20-year-old prostitute identified as Jessica Taylor.
Five more remains were discovered at Gilgo Beach over the next two weeks.
Gilbert’s body was later found in the marsh in the community of Oak Beach in December 2011, about three miles east of where the other 10 sets were discovered.
Police have long maintained that Gilbert’s death was accidental and excluded her from the 10 other bodies found during the case.
They said at the time that she drowned in a drug-induced haze after wandering into the wetland, but her relatives have long disputed that determination.
An independent autopsy results commissioned by Gilbert’s mother indicated she too may have been strangled like the other victims.
These photos show the first four victims who were murdered near Gilgo Beach in 2010
This map shows the locations where some of the Long Island victims were found, and the distance between the crime scenes
Suffolk County divers search Hemlock Cove in Babylon amid serial killer case in April 2011
Four years before the first Long Island victim was found, Atlantic City police were faced with their own gruesome mystery.
On November 20, 2006, two women came across the body of 35-year-old Kim Raffo in a drainage ditch behind the Golden Key Motel in Egg Harbor Township.
Police arrived to discover the bodies of three other women – Barbara V Breidor, 42; Molly Jean Dilts, 20; and Tracy Ann Roberts, 23 – a few yards away from Raffo.
The bodies were each in different stages of decomposition, suggesting that they were killed at different times. Their bodies were displayed in the same manner – face down, pointing east, and barefoot.
Police believe all four women, who were sex workers in Atlantic City, were strangled.
As with the Long Island case, the Eastbound Strangler still hasn’t been identified nearly 15 years later.
On November 20, 2006, two women came across the body of 35-year-old Kim Raffo in a drainage ditch behind the Golden Key Motel in Egg Harbor Township. Police arrived to discover the bodies of three other women – Barbara V Breidor, 42; Molly Jean Dilts, 20; and Tracy Ann Roberts, 23 – a few yards away from Raffo
Pictured: The drainage ditch where the four women were found on November 20, 2006
While Lifetime’s new flick draws several comparisons between the two mysteries, investigators say they have no reason to believe they’re connected.
‘We continue to communicate with law enforcement agencies, including Atlantic City Police Department, regarding the Gilgo Beach homicide investigation,’ an officer with the Suffolk County Police Department told Oxygen this week.
‘At this time, there is no link between our case and the Atlantic City case.’
And the families of some of the victims aren’t sold on the theory either – including Melissa Cann, whose sister Maureen Brainard Barnes was one of the first women found dead on Long Island.
‘I do not believe the Atlantic City murder victims are related to my sister’s murder,’ Cann told Oxygen.
‘It has never been told to me that they are or were linked. From my understanding, they are not.’
The Lifetime film leaves open the possibility of a connection, however, and ends with a call for justice for victims in both cases.
Three crosses are seen near the site where the four Atlantic City victims were found
The Long Island case was also the subject of a new podcast which suggests that a disgraced former police chief in Suffolk County could have something to do with the killings.
In Unraveled: Long Island Serial Killer, released last Wednesday, hosts Billy Jensen and Alexis Linkletter put the spotlight on James Burke, who headed the department from 2011 until his resignation in 2015.
Burke was jailed for 46 months back in 2016 after pleading guilty to a civil rights violation arising out of an assault on a local man by the name of Christopher Loeb in 2012, while he was serving in the top job.
Unraveled puts the spotlight on ex-Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke, who headed the department from 2011 until his resignation in 2015. The disgraced former cop is pictured in 2016
Loeb had stolen a navy duffel bag from the back of Burke’s SUV in December of that year, before he was subsequently tracked down police. Loeb says Burke took him back to the station and assaulted him.
Loeb is interviewed in the first episode of Unraveled, where he sensationally claims that Burke may have beaten him because he found an incriminating item inside the duffel bag.
During the podcast, Loeb tells producers that the duffel bag contained a pink sex toy, handcuffs, a whistle and several pornography DVDs.
Loeb alleges that he put one of the DVDs into a player and was stunned by what he saw.
‘I put it on for about two minutes, I saw a guy with a mask on torturing a girl, a prostitute. She was tied behind her back, make up was running down her back, she was scared to death,’ Leob claims.
He says it was a ‘snuff film’ – otherwise known as a pornographic movie of an actual murder.
The producers of Unraveled admit they have no way of verifying Loeb’s accusations, but state: ‘It’s so out there, but so much of this story is out there.’
They also alleged that ‘just weeks after entering office, Burke shut the FBI out of the investigation into the Gilgo Beach serial killer’.
More episodes of the podcast will be released next month, and will further probe the ex- cop.
Burke was released from prison in 2019 after completing his sentence for his assault on Loeb.
Source: Daily Mail |World News