Suffolk County police confirmed yesterday that none of the three human remains found between Gilgo and Oak beaches on Monday are those of Shannan Gilbert, the Jersey City prostitute who was last seen four miles away from the gruesome discoveries in May.
“I’m hanging in there but I’m frustrated and heartbroken,” said a family member of Gilbert’s, who preferred not to give her name. “I’m glad to hear that the other bodies will be identified and bring closure to their families.
“But I fantasize and day-dream every day that Shannan will walk through my door and say ‘I was kidnapped,’ but I’m fine now,’” she added sadly.
Police are set to resume their search along the barrier beach today, after eight bodies have been found in the area. Suffolk County police previously said they suspect a serial killer.
But Dottie Laster, a human-trafficking expert from Texas who was hired to locate Gilbert and is working closely with her family, believes Gilbert, as well as the other prostitutes whose bodies were found at the beach, could be victims of human trafficking.
“A man who profited from their sexual acts physically abused … these women or someone close to them,” said Laster.
“Murder and prostitution usually go hand in hand with trafficking,” she said.
Suffolk County police, however, are not ruling out their search for a serial killer. But until the recent three sets of human remains are identified, they won’t be able to connect the killings, a police source told Metro.
Gilgo residents on edge
Meanwhile, residents of Gilgo Beach remain on edge.
“I honestly know, unfortunately, it could be someone who grew up in this area, and to me that’s frightening,” Gilgo Beach resident Adrienne Smith told Metro. “You could be playing next to a kid in the ocean and that kid could grow up to be a serial killer. That’s what is scary to me.” –Natalie Placek/Metro