JONES BEACH, LONG ISLAND (PIX 11)—The search for a serial killer on Long Island intensifies with high tech help from the feds. It's one of a few new developments in homicide investigations that have found the remains of ten people so far.
Those discoveries are the result of a variety of police actions along Ocean Parkway between Oak Beach in Suffolk County and Jones Beach in Nassau County since last December. Divers in the water with metal detectors, searchers on horseback, cadaver dogs, helicopters and good old fashioned foot searchers have all worked together in organized operations to find the remains of ten people.
Thursday, the latest technology steps in to help find more victims. High-resolution photographic equipment mounted on two aircraft -- an FBI airplane and a helicopter -- are supposed to enhance and improve on what's been done so far, mostly on the ground. The high-tech electronic gear can see from the air objects as small as 1 inch in the thick undergrowth on the ground where remains have been found so far. It can also detect human remains.
Of the ten sets of remains found since December, four have been identified as prostitutes who'd gone missing: Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 25, Megan Waterman, 22, Amber Lynn Costello, 27,and Melissa Barthelemy, 24. The other six victims are still not formally identified, although investigators confirm that one victim found in the beachside scrub was a child under 5 years of age.
The unidentified victims' deaths may not be related to the four women who have been identified, according to Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer. "The indication is that the bodies have been dumped there sometime ago," he said in a Wednesday news conference in which he also tried to calm residents' concerns. "It's not like we have somebody walking around Suffolk County with a knife dripping with blood," Commissioner Dormer said.
Still, none of the discovered remains appears to be the person whose disappearance last December led to the searches starting in the first place. Sex worker Shannan Gilbert of Jersey City, NJ was seen screaming on Ocean Parkway, then she disappeared. She is still missing.