Friday, December 16, 2011

Latest Developments in LI Serial Killer Case Highlights Dispute Over How Many Killers Involved

I've long suspected that there were two or more serial killers involved in the grisly killing field uncovered by law enforcement along a stretch of highway near Jones Beach. The recovery of 10 sets of remains was due to a search was initiated in order find a missing New Jersey woman, Shannan Gilbert. Her body was recovered earlier this week.

The Suffolk County police chief now says that the killings were the work of a single killer. The Suffolk County District Attorney questions that, considering all the evidence pointing towards at least two killers.
The district attorney and Mr. Dormer were in agreement in May when they appeared at a news conference to say that the authorities believed multiple killers were most likely responsible for the deaths.

The remains of eight women, a man and a toddler were found in the thick underbrush along the highway between last December and April.

Mr. Dormer said in an interview this month that he had revised his theory and thought that one killer was most likely responsible. He discounted the fact that some victims had been dismembered while some had not, arguing that serial killers often evolve and change their tactics. And Mr. Dormer pointed to the likelihood that all the victims were linked to the sex trade as another indicator that one killer was responsible.

On Thursday, Mr. Spota countered that because 5 of the 10 victims had yet to be identified, Mr. Dormer was not able to confirm that all had a link to the sex trade.

The toddler is thought to be a child of one of the unidentified women, believed to be a prostitute, Mr. Dormer has said. The man was found wearing women’s clothing, which Mr. Dormer said indicated that he might have been a prostitute. Mr. Spota said that men can be cross-dressers without being prostitutes.

The district attorney said that not only did he disagree with Mr. Dormer, but that many of the detectives investigating the case also did not share Mr. Dormer’s opinion. Mr. Dormer has conceded that others may not agree with him and has left open the possibility that he could change the theory.

Mr. Dormer, who is leaving office at the end of this month, testified before Mr. Spota’s appearance on Thursday but left before the district attorney’s testimony. A spokeswoman said later that Mr. Dormer had no comment on what Mr. Spota had said.
Dormer also claimed that Gilbert was not murdered, and most likely drowned in the marshy area from which her body was recovered. That was before the medical examiners could determine a cause of death, and it doesn't explain why her body was found a quarter mile from her clothes and purse and other items she apparently was carrying at the time of her disappearance. Dormer's theory of how Gilbert's last minutes played out doesn't quite pass Occam's Razor either:
“You know, that’s explainable because she’s hysterical,” said Dormer. “We know that and she’s discarding her possessions as she moves along. Her jeans could have come off moving in that environment. We’ve looked at this very carefully and that is a possibility, that the jeans came off and she kept running, kept running towards the lights. Obviously, she was disturbed that night.”

Gilbert was last seen running and screaming for help in Oak Beach in May 2010.
Why would she remove her jeans as she's running through thick thorny brush? Why would she drop her cell phone and other items and continue running for a quarter mile before her untimely end?

We might get a very different picture from Dormer's successor - and more leads on who was involved in these killings.

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