NEW YORK (AP) — A suspect has been arrested on Long Island, New York, in connection with a long string of unsolved murders, known as the Gilgo Beach murders, a law enforcement official said Friday. laws to the Associated Press.
The case has drawn public attention since human remains were found along a New York beach highway more than a decade ago. The mystery made national headlines for many years, and the unsolved murders were the subject of the 2020 Netflix movie “Lost Girls.”
The suspect was taken into custody in Massapequa on Thursday evening and investigators were at a home linked to the case on Friday, the official said. The official was not authorized to publicly discuss details of the investigation and spoke to AP on condition of anonymity.
The name of the suspect was not immediately released.
The deaths of 11 people whose remains were found in 2010 and 2011 have long baffled investigators. Most of the victims were young women who had been sex workers. Several of the bodies were found near the town of Gilgo Beach.
Figuring out who killed them, and why, has vexed many seasoned homicide detectives through several changes in police leadership. Last year, an interagency task force was formed with investigators from the FBI, as well as state and local police departments, in an effort to solve the case.
The formation of the Gilgo Beach task force represents a renewed commitment to investigating the unsolved murders of most of the young women whose skeletal remains were found along a highway on Long Island, said the police commissioner of the Suffolk County, Rodney Harrison.
“We are happy to see that they are finally active, the police, to achieve something. Let’s wait and see what all of this leads to,” said John Ray, the attorney for the families of two victims, Shannan Gilbert and Jessica Taylor.
Gilbert’s disappearance in 2010 sparked the hunt that revealed the greatest mystery. A 24-year-old sex worker, she disappeared after walking from a client’s home in the beachfront community of Oak Beach, disappearing into the swamp.
Months later, a police officer and his cadaver dog were searching for her body in the thicket along nearby Ocean Parkway when they came across the remains of another woman. Within days, three more bodies were found, all within walking distance of each other.
By spring 2011, that number had jumped to 10 sets of human remains – those of eight women, one man and one infant. Some were later linked to dismembered body parts found elsewhere on Long Island, creating a confusing crime scene that stretched from a park near the New York City limits to a resort community on Fire Island and on. on the far east side of Long Island.
Gilbert’s body was found in December 2011, about 5 kilometers east of where the other 10 sets were discovered.
Speaking of the bodies near Gilgo Beach, investigators have repeatedly said over the years that it’s unlikely a single person killed all of the victims.
News of an arrested suspect comes a day after state police responded to a report of skeletal remains found in a wooded area off the Southern State Parkway in Islip. Police have scheduled a briefing near the site for Friday afternoon. It was not immediately clear if these remains were related to the Gilgo Beach case.
Balsamo reported from Washington. Associated Press contributors include Jennifer Peltz in New York and Sarah Brumfield in Silver Spring, Maryland.