Monday, January 24, 2011

A Craigslist Serial Killer On Long Island? UPDATED 11/30/2011

A Craigslist Killer on Long Island?

Bodies Continue to be Uncovered in Gilgo Beach

By: Joseph L. Giacalone





Photo Credit: Barcelo, NY Daily News
Long Island, New York -

The four bodies that were discovered in December 2010 on Gilgo Beach in Suffolk County, New York, now have names and faces.  The victims were all prostitutes that advertised their services on the popular Craigslist website, leading police to believe that is how the killer came into contact with them.  Some of the victims had been reported missing by their families as late as 2007 and there may be more victims yet to be discovered or linked to this perpetrator.

The police still have not identified the way these victims were murdered as part of the normal course of an investigation such as this.  The police will not reveal the cause of death most of the time, especially in a serial case.  The reason behind this is two-fold:

1) They don't get inundated with people that want to confess to the crime. It happens more than you know and ties up dozens of valuable investigative hours.

2) The interrogators will know when they have the right person "in the box" based on how he killed his victims.

Prostitutes have long been a favorite target of serial killers because frankly, no one but their families are looking for them or after them.  They are in a high risk profession that often brings them into close contact with men that have bad intentions.

Investigators, if they haven't done so already, will contact the FBI's ViCap Unit (Violent Criminal Apprehension Program).  They may be able to link additional crimes within the United States, especially on the East Coast.  One victim found on Long Island was originally from Maine.

UPDATE

According to Newsday, pg. A7:
  • The perpetrator used the victim's cell phone to taunt the family members
  • The victims were wrapped in burlap bags and left on the beach
With the information that the perpetrator actually called the victim's family to taunt them tells us a lot about him.  Behavioral evidence such as this cannot be ignored.  There is something I would do if I were the investigator, but choose not to share it here.  I welcome your comments and wonder what you would do?

UPDATE 04/01/2011

More human remains were found in the Gilgo Beach area of Suffolk County, Long Island, New York. Initially, police authorities believed that they found the remains of a missing New Jersey woman that may have been working as a prostitute-which would be the fifth set of remains found.

However, it has been reported that the remains are that of another unknown woman.  So, it is now possible that Suffolk County police are looking for a sixth victim.  How many more are there?

UPDATE 04/05/2011

An additional three (3) bodies were discovered yesterday in the Gilgo/Oak Beach area in Suffolk County: for a total of eight (8) victims.  Police are continuing the search in and around the area.  The police are under more pressure with the media attention, but that is not there only problem.  As springtime approaches, it brings with it the leaves, brush and bushes, which will make the search impossible, even with cadaver dogs.

UPDATE 4/12/2011

An additional two (2) bodies were discovered as the search has spread to parts of Nassau County's Jones Beach area. It was also reported that one set of human remains discovered on 4/4/2011 was that of a small child or infant. Also, there maybe a link to West Mesa, New Mexico area, with killings that are eerily similar.  Watch the clip from the local news:


ABC News is reporting that the Long Island Serial Killer maybe an ex-law enforcement officer or someone that worked within the criminal justice system. Does this sound familiar to you? It should because after the 25 year rampage of the BTK killer it was discovered that Dennis Rader, was a code enforcement agent. Also, Rader taunted the police with letters, this killer actually called the victim's family members and taunted them.

Read the ABC News report here

UPDATE 5/9/2011

The Suffolk County District Attorney has indicated that the bodies found along Gilgo Beach are the work of at least two (2) serial killers.  This would indicate to me that the victims were murdered in very different ways or some other clue that has lead investigators to a different Modus Operandi (MO).

The DA would not go out on a limb and risk embarrassment if they did not have solid evidence that the murders were committed by more than one person. 

Read the article here

UPDATE 11/30/2011

The Suffolk County Police Commissioner, Richard Dormer, has come out publicly and stated that the police are only looking for one person. Do to the similarities in the locations were the bodies were dumped, their ages and that it appears all of the victims worked in the sex trade. It is now public that the unidentified Asian male was wearing female clothes.The female toddler has now been identified as the child of one of the victims found in Suffolk County.

Read the rest of the story here.

The police are still trying to identify this male victim:


Anyone with information regarding any of the 10 victims should call Suffolk County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or visit them on the web here.

To learn more about criminal investigation, pick up a copy of the Criminal Investigative Function: A Guide for New Investigators.

3 comments:

  1. I still can't believe they ever let the detail about the burlap bags come out...they should have kept that one quiet...or do you think letting the public know that tidbit would benefit the case?

    I agree that the taunting issue is a revealing one. I'm curious what you would do, knowing that information...

    I would be looking into the wording, and if the caller had an accent; did the voice sound familiar to them? I would imagine that someone engaging in that behavior would have known the victim and/or her family beyond a one-time meeting.

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  2. Hi Kathleen,
    Since the funeral is over, I would ensure that I had a copy of the visitor log. It worked out for me in another cold case, the killer had taunted the victim's parents and then had the nerve to show up at the wake. That is what I wanted to post, but the wake was the next day and just in case the perp was following the news, I didn't want them to stumble upon this post. To me its obvious that the killer lives out in Suffolk County. In order to know that area of Gilgo, one would have intimate knowledge of the wooded area, i.e a fisherman. It is also ironic that the cell phone pings were near Madison Square Garden and what else is located there? Yes, The Long Island Railroad! Does our killer commute to Manhattan to work everyday from Suffolk via the LIRR?
    What do you think?

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  3. Hi Joe,
    I think that's an awesome idea ~ quite a valid point. That is so interesting that it has worked for you in the past. Talk about a great idea for a story! You should blog about that one :-) I understand the need to hold off when you did. I absolutely agree, the fellow has to know LI pretty well. He was comfortable enough to keep picking the same dumping ground (he had to know that ultimately they'd be found, especially together....that "announces" him quite well, and almost makes me think he'd want to get caught; it's risky.
    I'm sure the benefit at night is to see headlights coming from a long distance in case he had to beat feet quickly. And yes - the commuting thing sounds right; you're a smart cookie (but I already knew that!). Thanks for sharing! I love learning something new everyday!

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