As far as family tragedies go, this is perhaps one of the worst ever.
Mari Gilbert, the mother of slain sex worker Shannan Gilbert, was found murdered in her New York apartment on Saturday. According to the New York Post, Mari’s other daughter — 27-year-old Sharra Gilbert — has been charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon.
Sharra has a criminal record, and is known to have been arrested twice this year alone — once for aggravated animal cruelty and endangering the welfare of a child in February, and the other time for criminal contempt in May. She is currently being held without bail.
Officials have refused to divulge the exact details of how they believe 52-year-old Mari died, but Ellenville police chief, Philip Mattracion, told HVNN that Gilbert was killed on Saturday morning, and her daughter was taken into custody shortly afterward.
More details about the slaying are expected to be released during a press conference on Monday.
The Gilbert family rose to nationwide attention about six years ago when Shannan Gilbert, a Craigslist escort, vanished in May, 2010, after making a desperate 911 call, screaming “They’re trying to kill me.”
In the aftermath of her disappearance, authorities launched a frenetic search for Shannan, which led them to the grisly discovery of 10 other bodies, including several other sex workers, a toddler belonging to one of the slain women, and a man dressed in women’s clothing, according to the New York Daily News.
The discovery of the bodies led to speculation that Shannan Gilbert was the last victim of the Gilgo Beach serial killer — also infamously dubbed the Craigslist Ripper — who is believed to have killed up to 17 people near the remote Long Island beach towns of Gilgo Beach and Oak Beach. The killer, who police believe to be a white male between 20 and 40 years of age, has not been apprehended till date.
“The larynx was missing and only the body of the hyoid bone was found; the two greater horns of that neck bone were missing. These structures, the larynx and the hyoid bone, are often fractured during homicidal manual strangulation.”
The findings led Mari Gilbert to say that she hoped that the real perpetrator behind the gruesome death of her daughter will be revealed. In a post she reportedly wrote on Facebook last December, Mari Gilbert remembered her child, promising that she would do her best to find Shannan’s killer.
“Your life was taken so soon, so sudden. At the age of 23, when you had so much life left inside of you. For almost two years you were missing and we feared we’d never see you again. And although we said our good byes in March when we finally laid you down to rest, we still can’t help but feel a void in our hearts. We miss you terribly Shannan. Even with five years of you being gone, the pain never goes away. Just know we’ll see each other again some day. But until then, sleep with the Angels.”
That dream to bring the murderer of her slain daughter to justice, however, has been cut short now that Mari Gilbert has been allegedly killed by her own daughter.
[Photo by AP Photo/Mary Altaffer]