Shannan Gilbert’s disappearance nearly two years ago on a semi-remote Long Island beach sparked off an investigation that quintessentially raised more questions than answers.
While Gilbert remained missing, several other bodies turned up secreted in the dunes at the side of Ocean Parkway near the site where Gilbert was last seen. Her case remained cold, her family lacking a body to bury, but police in Suffolk grimly concluded that the area appeared to be linked to a previously undiscovered serial killer in the area. As a Long Islander and a resident of Babylon, it was somewhat shocking to learn that women had been disappearing in the area but that no one seemed to realize it, nor link the disappearances as the work of one individual.
Now Suffolk Police say they’ve located remains they believe to be that of Shannan Gilbert, although her mother is not convinced the body unearthed near the surf is her daughter’s. Mari Gilbert spoke to local paper Newsday about the sad discovery, saying that she has “no reaction until [there is] a positive ID from the medical examiner,” and that she “just [hopes] it is not” her missing child- acknowledging that if the body is not Shannan Gilbert, another victim has been added to the toll.
Melissa Cann, sister of victim Maureen Brainard-Barnes, told the paper at a recent vigil for the victims that families were grateful to Suffolk Police for their hard work in identifying the dead and hunting their killer. Cann said:
“They have a hard investigation and they are the ones trying to catch the person that killed our family members and I really appreciate it. Don’t ever feel like our families don’t appreciate it.”
Lorraine Waterman-Ela, mother of victim Megan Waterman, added:
“We just want to thank them for everything they’ve done.”
The Suffolk County Medical Examiner is currently trying to obtain a positive match on the body believed to be that of Shannan Gilbert.