In May of 2010, 23-year-old Shannan Gilbert mysteriously disappeared from a gated community on the south shore of Long Island. Her disappearance led to a search that uncovered ten other bodies along a desolate beach highway. Some of these cases were linked to other sets of human remains previously found around Long Island, and several more may be connected. The case made national headlines with the media naming the perpetrator the "Long Island Serial Killer" or "LISK."
In December of 2010, while searching for Shannan Gilbert, police discovered a body near Gilgo Beach off Ocean Parkway. This victim would be identified as 24-year-old Melissa Barthelemy. Two days later, the bodies of three more women were found nearby: Amber Lynn Costello, 27, Megan Waterman, 22, and Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 25. These women have been called the "Gilgo Beach Four."
Three months later, in March of 2011, the partial remains of 20-year-old Jessica Taylor were found near Gilgo Beach. Part of Taylor’s body had been discovered eight years earlier and 40 miles away in Manorville, New York.
Days later, three more sets of human remains were discovered alongside Ocean Parkway. The first was 24-year-old Valerie Mack, whose partial remains had also been found in Manorville years earlier. An unidentified toddler was found near Mack. Two miles west, police discovered the skeletal remains of an unidentified Asian person believed to be 17 to 23 years old.
A week later, in April of 2011, two more sets of partial remains were found along Ocean Parkway. The first was a woman who is believed to be the mother of the toddler found the week before. Part of her body had been previously discovered in Hempstead Lake State Park in 1997. The second was the skull of a woman who was linked to remains found on Fire Island in 1996.
The case is still unsolved. While police and the FBI search for the killer (or killers), the victim's family members want to make sure their loved ones aren't forgotten.
A PHOTOGRAPHIC DIARY OF THE CASE
photos by Laura Grace McClintock