Body Possibly Shannan Gilbert’s Is Found on Long Island

Photo Shannan Gilbert's mother, Mari, left, at a vigil Tuesday to remember 10 other people whose remains had been found. Credit Uli Seit for The New York Times They had planned to gather on Tuesday, on the barren shore along Ocean Parkway on Long Island, to remember the victims of a suspected serial killer, the remains found scattered among the areas shrouded thickets over the past year.

Instead, they paid special respects to the Home for sale bethesda md woman whose disappearance unfurled this grim string of mysteries in the first place.

Hours before relatives of some of the victims were to hold their vigil, law enforcement officials said they had discovered what they believed to be the skeletal remains of Shannan Gilbert, a New Jersey prostitute last seen in May 2010.

In their search for Ms. Gilbert, who was 24 then, investigators found the remains of 10 other victims, including 8 women, a toddler and a man wearing womens clothing, raising the specter of a serial killer of prostitutes. Each victim had a possible connection to the sex trade, said Richard Dormer, the Suffolk County police commissioner. (The toddler, whose body was discovered Bethesda MD on April 4, is believed to be the child of a prostitute whose remains were found miles down Ocean Parkway on April 11.)

The relatives arranged the anniversary vigil before the prospect of Ms. Gilberts discovery was even raised: On Dec. 13 of last year, officials reported the discovery of four bodies in the brush on Jones Beach Island.

The authorities have maintained, though, that Ms. Gilberts case is not necessarily related to the others. The location of the body believed to be hers, Mr. Dormer said Tuesday, has helped validate his belief that Ms. Gilbert drowned while trying to reach the parkway through the swampland nearby after knocking on a door in Oak Beach. The body was found, Mr. Dormer said, about a quarter mile northeast of where investigators last week retrieved what they believed were Ms. Gilberts purse, jeans, shoes and cellphone.

She traveled at least half a mile, three quarters of Bethesda Md Homes for Sale a mile, on foot through that muck, Mr. Dormer said at a news conference on Tuesday. It would be very easy to get exhausted and fall down and not be able to move any further.

Later, Mari Gilbert, Shannans mother, appeared at the vigil with a small group of friends and relatives of the other victims. Those gathered released balloons into the air, recited the Lords Prayer and, in some cases, hammered crosses into the earth beside the parkway.

But Mari Gilbert, who said the authorities contacted her on Tuesday morning with news of the discovery, was unconvinced Home for sale bethesda md that the remains were her daughters, noting that an autopsy had not been completed. Until I hear positive confirmation that its my daughter, Im going to believe its not, she said.

Ms. Gilbert has also expressed doubts that her daughters death was accidental. She spoke on Tuesday of hoping to meet a killer who Homes for sale bethesda maryland the authorities are not sure exists. I want to meet him face to face one day, she said. And I just want to ask him: Who hurt you? Who Homes for sale in bethesda md hurt you this badly that you have to hurt others?

Mr. Dormer said areas adjacent to where the remains had been found were drained over the last week to aid in the search. Detectives were traveling through thick brush on an amphibious vehicle, Mr. Dormer added, before noticing the skeletal remains lying on the surface of the ground.

It is still unclear why Ms. Gilbert might have charted such a dangerous course through the swamp. After leaving a seaside home in the Oak Beach area early on May 1, 2010, Ms. Gilbert banged on the door of a resident, Gus Coletti, shortly before 5 a.m. She kept saying, Help me, Mr. Coletti said in an interview last spring. When he dialed 911, she ran. He did not see her again.

Since the discovery of the first bodies along Ocean Parkway, on Dec. 11 and Dec. 13 last year, victims relatives have forged a unique, if heart-rending, connection, they say. Were a family, said Lorraine Ela, the mother of Megan Waterman, whose body was found last December, but not by blood.

At one point, Mari Gilbert expressed her grief that, if the remains were not her daughters, another victim had been added to the tally. Nobody truly knows how, she began, before Ms. Ela completed her thought. How it feels to have a missing child come up deceased, Ms. Ela said.

Over the past year, Ms. Gilbert seemed to find solace in the notion that her daughters disappearance had shined a light on other victims.

Everyone has their destiny, she said last spring. Maybe this was hers.

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