Suffolk County Police announced Friday they can identify one of the previously unnamed victims in the Gilgo Beach murders almost two decades after part of her body was first discovered.
Police were not able to confirm when the victim will be named but said it would be in the near future.
The news came four months after police reinvigorated the investigation into the suspected serial killings, releasing images of a belt that was found near the crime scene.
The decomposed remains of the victim, a white female in her 30s, were found in two separate places in Long Island more than a decade apart.
Her naked torso was found in a wooded area of Manorville back in November 2000, with additional remains discovered along Ocean Beach Parkway on April 4, 2011.
The remains of two other victims were found nearby on the same day.
The body of Jane Doe #6 in the Gilgo Beach murder case has been identified, police say, almost two decades since part of her decomposing body was first found in Long Island, New York
Pictured Suffolk County Search Divers in April 2011 after the bodies of at least ten people were found in the area after cops began a search for missing sex worker Shannan Gilbert
‘The Suffolk County Police Department, together with the FBI, have positively identified “Manorville Jane Doe,” also referred to as “Jane Doe #6,”’ police said in a statement Friday.
‘The department announced the utilization of DNA techniques earlier this year in our ongoing effort to advance the investigation,’ it added.
‘Using this technology, the department has successfully identified “Manorville Jane Doe,” also referred to as “Jane Doe #6,” whose remains were located in Manorville in 2000 and Gilgo Beach in 2011.’
In total, 11 sets of human remains were found strewn along a highway in Long Island in 2010 and 2011 after police began a hunt for a missing sex worker Shannan Gilbert.
This included Gilbert’s remains, whose death police say is not linked.
The unexpected announcement on Friday came after police in January released images of a black leather belt that was found at the crime scene – which they believe was handled by the suspected serial killer.
Cops also created a website specifically for the investigation in a bid to finally solve the cold case for which there have been no arrests.
The first four bodies found were those of women in their 20s who worked as prostitutes, according to police (all pictured). In total, the remains of eight women, one Asian man and one toddler were all found along several miles of parkway in 2010 and 2011
The announcement comes 10 years after a search for Shannan Gilbert (left and right), 24, led to the grisly discovery of 10 sets of human remains. Gilbert, a 24-year-old sex worker, went missing in 2010 several miles from Gilgo Beach after leaving a client’s house on foot
Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart announced in January that the belt appears to have embossed initials, WH or HM.
Hart said authorities believe the belt was handled by the suspect and did not belong to any of the Gilgo Beach victims. She did not give a specific location about where the belt was found.
The belt was discovered in the early stages of the investigation but was a previously undisclosed piece of evidence withheld from the public. It’s unclear why, but Hart said her team believed ‘it was time’ to release the information.
Hart didn’t say whether DNA from the killer was taken from the belt, but she did then announce that the Suffolk County Police Department is using genetic genealogy in hopes of cracking the case.
The unexpected announcement on Friday came four months after police released images of a black leather belt that found at the crime scene, pictured, branded with WH or HM
The technology has now led to the identification of one of the victims, according to Friday’s statement.
The police announcement comes 10 years after a search for Shannan Gilbert, 24, led to the grisly discovery of 10 sets of human remains.
Gilbert, a 24-year-old sex worker, went missing in 2010 several miles from Gilgo Beach after leaving a client’s house on foot and disappearing into the marsh.
Months later, a police officer and his cadaver dog were looking for her body in the thicket along Ocean Parkway when they happened upon the remains of a different woman in December 2010.
Within days, three other bodies were found, all within a short walk of one another.
Suffolk County police announced on Friday that they have identified Jane Doe #6
No further discoveries were made from December 2010 until March 2011 when a second wave of gruesome finds began.
By spring 2011, the number of bodies had climbed to 10 sets of human remains – those of eight women, one Asian man and one toddler – all found along several miles of parkway.
The Asian man, who authorities said was dressed in women’s clothing, was found in March 2011.
Police believe the toddler was the child of one of the victims, but the girl and mother were found in two different areas. The toddler was found on April 4, 2011.
The first four bodies found were those of women in their 20s who worked as prostitutes, according to police.
Maureen Brainard Barnes, 25, went missing on July 9, 2007. Her remains were found on December 13, 2010.
Megan Waterman, 22, who had a daughter, went missing on June 6, 2010. Her body was also found on December 13, 2010.
The remains of eight of the 8 victims were found along this section on Gilgo Beach
An aerial view of the area near Gilgo Beach and Ocean Parkway on Long Island where police found the remains in 2010 and 2011 as they searched for missing sex worker Shannen Gilbert
The remains of Melissa Barthelemy, 24, who had been living in the Bronx at the time, and Amber Lynn Costello, 27, were also found on December 13, 2010.
Barthelemy’s body was the first to be found. She went missing on July 12, 2009. Costello disappeared on September 2, 2010.
Police began to find the second set of bodies from March 2011, after they discovered the skull of a 20-year-old prostitute identified as Jessica Taylor on March 29.
Her remains were later linked to dismembered body parts found elsewhere on Long Island, making for a puzzling crime scene that stretched from a park near the New York City limits to a resort community on Fire Island and out to far eastern Long Island.
Most of the rest of her body was previously found in a wooded area of Manorville shortly after she disappeared in July 2003.
Five more remains were discovered at Gilgo Beach over the next two weeks.
Other body parts found on Gilgo Beach at this time were also linked to another corpse found in Manorville in 2000, that of the female victim who has now been identified.
Police believe the bodies found in 2011 predate those discovered in December 2010.
No arrests were made in any of their deaths.
Gilbert’s body was later found in the marsh in the community of Oak Beach in December 2011, about three miles east of where the other 10 sets were discovered.
Police have long maintained that Gilbert’s death was accidental and exclude her from the 10 other bodies found during the case.
They said at the time that she drowned in a drug-induced haze after wandering into the wetland, but her relatives have long disputed that determination.
An independent autopsy results commissioned by Gilbert’s mother indicated she too may have been strangled like the other victims.
In one of the more unusual twists in the saga, Gilbert’s mother, Mari, was murdered last year by another daughter, Sarra, in her upstate New York home.
Police searching the wooded area near where the bodies were found in April 2011
In talking about the bodies near Gilgo Beach, investigators have said several times over the years it is unlikely one person killed all the victims.
Last September, New York state officials determined that investigators could use the scientific technology in the Gilgo case.
The technology hasn’t been approved in the state, but it has helped authorities in other states identify notorious murderers such as the Golden State Killer.
The investigation had been dormant, at least publicly, for years until the belt evidence was revealed in January.
Authorities also launched a website exclusively for the investigation called GilgoNews.com. The public can submit anonymous tips and stay updated on information regarding the case on the website.
The victim’s name will be released through the site, police say.