Shannan Gilbert, the female escort whose body was found dead in December 2011 in Suffolk County, New York, may have been strangled by a Long Island serial killer who has left at least 10 other victims in his or her wake on Long Island. These and other findings highlighted the recent review of the 24-year-old escort’s 2012 autopsy by famed New York City medical examiner, Michael Baden, at the request of Gilbert’s family.
launched an investigation into Shannan Gilbert’s autopsy, determining that the escort was likely strangled. [Image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]
“We have been very unhappy with the behavior of the Suffolk County Police Department,” continued Ray. “It has been a poor, really awful investigation. We are distressed by that.”
Officially, local police have classified the escort’s death as “undetermined” and chalked it up to a possible drug overdose, drowning, or, at the very least, likely unrelated to the murders of 10 other individuals in the same area.
It was back in 2010 that a police K-9 unit first discovered the dead bodies of nine victims, who were all believed to be escorts, including eight females and one male dressed as a woman, in addition to a female infant. According to News Day, the chain of gruesome discoveries was uncovered near Giglo Beach and Ocean Parkway in Wantagh, New York. To date, only five of the victims have been identified.
Classifying Suffolk County law enforcement claims that Gilbert’s death was likely unrelated to the others’ as “absurd,” Ray told local media that “it’s time now for the police department to wise up,” and he noted that both the F.B.I. and the U.S. Attorney’s Office would be assisting with the now five-year-old case of Shannan Gilbert.
In 2010, Gilbert, a New Jersey native, placed a frantic 9-1-1 call – the last time her voice is believed to have been heard – in a location near to where the other bodies were ultimately discovered. During the call, she told the operator that she believed that someone was trying to kill her. This distress call would prove to be the escort’s last prior to disappearing.
A year-and-a-half later, in December 2011, her body was discovered in a marsh in close proximity to the other victims’ bodies.
Strangely, the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s office have, publicly, continued to assert that Gilbert’s case is likely unrelated to the others.
“It [hurts]… knowing that you know the truth,” said Stevie Gilbert, the victim’s younger sister, who continues to hold anger toward investigators and potential witnesses that she believes may have been withholding information.
Meanwhile, Shannan’s mother, Mari, believes that officials are doing her late daughter a tremendous disservice by not re-investigating exactly what led to their determination that she had not been murdered. If nothing else, per NBC News, she believes that the coincidences between Gilbert’s death and those of the other victims should leave investigators more open-minded to the possibility.
She also believes the investigation has taken on a lower priority because her daughter was, in fact, a sex worker.
“[Shannan Gilbert] did not and does not deserve to be forgotten,” she said at the press conference, noting that her daughter was “not perfect” but still very-much-so loved and cared for by those with whom she was close.
[Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]