The mother of Shannan Gilbert, an escort whose body was found near a dumping ground for prostitutes’ bodies in 2011 on Gilgo Beach of Long Island, was found dead on Saturday. Police have charged the victim’s younger daughter, Sarra, with her murder.
According to The Jersey Journal, Mari Gilbert was found inside her Ellenville, New York, apartment, dead, around 2:15 p.m. The 52-year-old was allegedly murdered by her 27-year-old daughter, Sarra Elizabeth Gilbert, who also lived in the home. The mother was apparently stabbed to death by her schizophrenic daughter, according to the family’s lawyer.
Mari Gilbert was also the mother of Shannan Gilbert, the escort who went missing in the beginning of May 2010, after meeting with a client in Long Island, according to People.
A long 18 months went by before her body was found on Gilgo Beach, Long Island, on December 13, 2011, in a marsh. Although police believed Shannan drowned in the marsh after fleeing inexplicably from her client’s house, her mother believed Shannan was the victim of the Long Island serial killer.
The Long Island serial killer used Gilgo Beach as a dumping ground for mostly prostitutes. Because of the search for Shannan, the gruesome discovery of 10 bodies uncovered a serial killer who was operating undetected for quite some time.
She insisted that authorities look at her daughter’s death like a murder and pleaded for the FBI to look into her daughter’s death.
“I believe that Shannan was murdered and I believe she is part of the serial killer case,” Mari Gilbert said in 2011. “We are tired of theories, now we need the truth.”
Later, when the authorities would still not consider her death one of the Long Island serial killer’s victims, Mari admitted she was upset but she was looking at her daughter in a new light.
“I was very angry, as any parent should be. But as time went by, I kind of realized that maybe that was her destiny, to help other families.”
Earlier in 2016, a pathologist hired by the Gilbert family concluded that Shannan Gilbert’s autopsy showed that she may have been strangled. Dr. Michael Baden found damage to Shannan’s hyoid bone, indicating strangulation, and noted that her body was found face up instead of face down. Most bodies that drown are found face down.
“Almost all of the skeletal bones were recovered and appeared normal. There was no evidence of trauma. However, 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. My examination of the recovered body of the hyoid bone, after it had been anthropologically de-fleshed, showed a roughness at the margins where the separated bones had been attached,” Dr. Baden said in his report.
Despite this evidence, Shannan Gilbert’s death is still ruled as an accident, and she is not officially considered a victim of the Long Island serial killer or of homicide.
“She’s a real symbol of what’s right about motherhood. It’s the ultimate horror of your own child putting you to death,” an attorney for the Gilbert family, John Ray, said.
Authorities plan to talk about the “circumstances surrounding the homicide” during a news conference on Monday at 12 p.m. EST.
[Photo by Seth Wenig/AP Images]