It all began to unfold when police were searching for 24-year-old, Shannan Gilbert, a Craigslist escort who had disappeared in May 2010 after meeting a client by the name of Joseph Bewer near Oak Beach. Something had spooked Shannan and she fled his home, screaming. She made a phone call to 911 in which she exclaimed “They’re trying to kill me!” before begging one his his neighbours for help. Her driver, Michael Pak, had tried her to get back into his car but she refused. She carried on running away. From what, nobody knows for sure. The last time she was seen alive, she was running up the street, screaming and begging for help but to no avail.
The Suffolk County Police paid no attention to her disappearance due to the fact that she was an escort. It wasn’t until seven months later that they finally investigated the case and what they discovered, would shock the entire world - four bodies evenly spaced out along Ocean Parkway, wrapped in burlap, none of which were Shannan. They found the body of Maureen Brainard-Barnes who went missing three years earlier, Melissa Barthelemy who went missing in 2009, Megan Waterman who went missing a month after Shannan, and Amber Lynn Costello who went missing earlier in the year. The women were similar to Shannan in that they were all petite women in their 20′s and all worked as Craigslist escorts. They had all been strangled elsewhere and then dumped.Over the next year, six more bodies, and body parts, were discovered around the same area of Gilgo and Oak Beach. Among the bodies was that of an Asian man wearing a dress and a young toddler, who is believed to be the child of one of the escort’s found. Five of the discovered victims, including the aforementioned three, still remain unidentified. Authorities believe that all ten bodies are the victim of one serial killer, who has become known as “The Long Island Serial Killer” and also commonly referred to as “The Gilgo Killer.”
On 13, December, 2011, the body of Shannan Gilbert, the woman who set off the investigation, was finally discovered. She was found nearby in a swamp. Authorities ruled her death as accidental, but many people, her mother included, do not share this view due to the fact that she fits the victim profile of the women who have been killed by this unidentified serial killer. She was also discovered in the same area as the other victims and this would not explain the terror and fear of something or someone that she experienced on the night of her disappearance.
Ten more bodies have been discovered in the same area but authorities have not linked them to The Long Island Serial Killer. It appears as though the area had been a dumping ground for serial killers for many years, including Joel Rifkin.