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A.strickler Surprise in Strangler Case 12.12.11

A.strickler Surprise in Strangler Case 12.12.11

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Published by: andrewclyde on Aug 19, 2012
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SURPRISE IN STRANGLER CASE - The Dailyhttp://www.thedaily.com/page/2011/12/12/121211-news-long-island-serial-killer-1-4/[8/13/12 1:06:53 PM]
Monday, August 13, 1:04 pmFollow us
SURPRISE INSTRANGLER CASE
Murder ruled out as police hunt body of N.Y. prostitutewhose vanishing led to serial-killer probe
By Andrew Strickler
Monday, December 12, 2011
The woman whose disappearance led to the discovery of a potential serial killer in New York waslikely a victim of her own drug abuse, sources said.Investigators believe the young sex worker had a drug-fueled, paranoid outburst while she was witha client last year, culminating in her drowning in a Long Island marsh, law enforcement sources toldThe Daily.The search for the still-missing Shannan Gilbert from a quiet beach community 19 months ago ledpolice to the skeletons of four women. All of them, like Gilbert, were prostitutes. They had been
strangled, wrapped in burlap and dumped in underbrush in Gilgo Beach, on Long Island’s south
shore.
With speculation swirling around what happened during Gilbert’s encounter with a client and a hunt
for a serial killer under way, later searches of the barrier island revealed the scattered bones of sixmore victims.
The Daily is a first-of-its-kind daily national newspublication builtexclusively as anapplication for tablets andother emerging digitalplatforms.
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PHOTO:James Carbone/AP
Cops sweep marshes in Oak Beach in Long Island, N.Y., in the hunt for clues to the disappearance of Shannan Gilbert (inset).
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SURPRISE IN STRANGLER CASE - The Dailyhttp://www.thedaily.com/page/2011/12/12/121211-news-long-island-serial-killer-1-4/[8/13/12 1:06:53 PM]
Last week, Suffolk County police made their first major break in the case in months, finding several
of Gilbert’s belongings in a dense marsh just outside Oak Beach, about three miles east of Gilgo
Beach. It was there that Gilbert was last seen alive, fearful of an unseen threat and running into thedarkness.Police working with an amphibious vehicle and shovels found some of her belongings: a cellphone, apocketbook, jeans and a pair of ballet-type shoes. The discovery has fueled new speculation about
Gilbert’s final hours with a local man who contacted her through her Craigslist ad.
The waterlogged items — found too far from roads to have been thrown there — raise the odds thatGilbert ran into the swamp and became stuck or fell unconscious, officials say.
Law enforcement sources tell The Daily that last week’s finds support their belief that Gilbert washigh when she died, and that Gilbert’s client, Joseph Brewer, took her to get drugs before her death.Gilbert, an aspiring singer who had worked in recent years as an escort, arrived at Brewer’s homeabout 2 a.m. A short time later, she and Brewer left in his vehicle, according to Gilbert’s driver,
Michael Pak, and sources familiar with the investigation.They returned about 15 minutes later.“Where else would you go at 3 in the morning with a prostitute other than to buy drugs?” a lawenforcement official said.With Pak waiting outside in his SUV, Gilbert stayed with Brewer more than two more hours beforeshe made a frantic 911 call from her cellphone.Pak and Brewer later told detectives she had became paranoid, and hid behind a couch beforebolting from the home. A neighbor found Gilbert banging at his door and also called 911. She wasgone by the time police arrived.
A Suffolk County investigator who reviewed a recording of Gilbert’s 911 call has described her as
“intoxicated” and unable to say where she was.
Brewer has denied using drugs with Gilbert, and police did not find any in his home. Gilbert’s
waterlogged pocketbook and jeans were being dried last week before a more thorough examinationcould be completed.
Pak told The Daily he believes she was high the night she went missing because he’d seen her
become disoriented after taking drugs with clients before.
“She liked ecstasy and weed,” Pak said. “If it was a party customer, they’d mostly want to do cokewith her, but she didn’t really like coke, because of her behavior. She’d only do it to extend the time
with a customer.” He added that Gilbert told him she wanted to get as much money as possible fromthe long trip to Oak Beach.
Pak described an earlier incident in which she’d gotten high with a Manhattan man who had offered
to pay her for two extra hours.
“She came out without getting paid,” he said. “She came out a different exit and couldn’t tell mewhere she was.” Some of Gilbert’s friends and family members have described her as bipolar, as
well as a drug user and heavy drinker.
At the time of the discovery of the Gilgo Beach remains and searches of Brewer’s homes last
December, some law enforcement sources said the focus was on finding Gilbert and investigatingthe murders, rather than on the suspected drug buy. Officials investigated Brewer extensively, andhave described him as cooperative.Suffolk County police officials declined to comment.
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SURPRISE IN STRANGLER CASE - The Dailyhttp://www.thedaily.com/page/2011/12/12/121211-news-long-island-serial-killer-1-4/[8/13/12 1:06:53 PM]
The search for Gilbert’s remains was to continue in the marsh today.
Officers are using metal detectors to look for a metal implant in her jaw, the result, her family says,of surgery following a punch by a boyfriend years ago.Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the discovery of the first set of remains at Gilgo Beach.The families of some of the victims are to attend a vigil on the island tomorrow.Investigators have long believed Gilbert was not the victim of whomever targeted the four GilgoBeach victims, two of whom were killed after her trip to Oak Beach.Police have emphasized that differences between the Gilgo victims and others found later —
including a toddler and a young Asian man found wearing women’s clothes — suggest as many as
three killers may have used the road as a dumping ground.Suffolk police commissioner Richard Dormer recently backed off that theory, saying he now thinksone killer is likely responsible. Five victims remain unidentified, including the child and adismembered woman who is most likely her mother. **************************************************************************************
The killer’s prey
These five victims of the Long Island beach killer, or killers, have been identified:
Maureen Brainard-Barnes
, 25, of Norwich, Conn., disappeared on July 9, 2007, when she left for a
trip into New York City. When the mother of two never returned, her friends and family contactedpolice. She was a small, 5-foot girl, described by her sister as “bubbly” and “the smart one in thefamily.”
Melissa Barthelemy
, 24, of Buffalo, N.Y., was discovered in the underbrush along Ocean Parkwayin Long Island on Dec. 11 last year. The last time anyone heard from her was on July 9, 2009, when
she sent a late-night text to her sister. After her disappearance, the family received seven phone
calls from an unknown man using Barthelemy’s phone to say she was a prostitute, a terrible personand, finally, that they wouldn’t be seeing her again. Barthelemy had earned her cosmetology license
and had recently moved to the Bronx, N.Y., to live on her own.
Megan Waterman
, 22, of Scarborough, Maine, disappeared on June 6, 2010, after a trip with her
boyfriend to New York City over the Memorial Day weekend. The family became worried aboutWaterman after she stopped calling her 4-year-old daughter; she usually phoned three times a day.The last time she was seen was at the Hauppauge Holiday Inn Express in New York in the earlyhours; she left the hotel on foot.
Amber Lynn Costello
, 27, was last seen in North Babylon in Long Island on Sept. 2, 2010, beforepolice found her remains on Gilgo Beach on the island’s south shore. She was 4 feet, 10 inches, and
weighed 100 pounds, and grew up near Wilmington, N.C. Costello had been working as prostitute inFlorida before she was found dead.
Jessica Taylor
, 20, had been an escort in Washington, D.C., before moving to the streets near thePort Authority Bus Terminal in New York City. On July 26, 2003, a woman walking her dog in theManorville woods near the Long Island Expressway found Taylor’s naked body. The killer had cut up
her up and gouged out a tattoo.

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