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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