Babylon, New York- The missing woman whose disappearance eventually precipitated the discovery of several sets of remains at the side of Ocean Parkway in New York can now be laid to rest, police in Suffolk County, New York have confirmed.
24-year-old Shannan Gilbert was living in New Jersey and had met a client on Oak Beach via Craigslist the night she disappeared. In December of that year, a police officer discovered nearly skeletal remains in a battered burlap bag in the area in which Gilbert was last seen alive, reviving interest in her disappearance. When all was said and done, four more sets of remains were located in the area of Oak Beach, leading police to conclude that a serial killer had used the location to discard bodies. In April and May of 2011, when searching resumed, another six sets of remains were uncovered on the beaches, bringing the total toll to at least ten.
But in a surprising twist, Gilbert’s body was not among the dead. Several of the bodies were identified as missing sex workers- Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 25, Melissa Barthelemy, 24, Megan Waterman, 22 and Amber Lynn Costello, 27- but several more sets, including that of a man and a child, remained unidentified. All are believed to in some way be associated with the sex trade. Earlier this week, a previously undiscovered body was located in a marsh at Oak Beach, and police said that they believed the remains were that of Gilbert– and that they do not believe she had been murdered. A cause of death has not been determined, however.