Long Island top cop creates task force to solve decade-old serial killings

The remains of nearly a dozen people were collected on a Long Island beach beginning in 2011


By Thomas Tracy
New York Daily News

SUFFOLK COUNTY, N.Y. — Suffolk County’s newest police commissioner has put together a dream team of detectives to solve a long-stalled Gilgo Beach serial killing case.

The Gilgo Beach Homicide Investigation Task Force includes investigators from the FBI, New York State Police, Suffolk County Police Department homicide squad, Suffolk County district attorney’s office and the Suffolk County sheriff’s office and will take a fresh look at the remains and evidence collected between Manorville and Hempstead beginning in 2011.

“I believe this case is solvable, and identifying the person or people responsible for these murders is a top priority,” said Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison, the NYPD’s former chief of department.

The task force marks the first time federal, state and local agencies will jointly dedicate investigators to solve a serial killing case, Suffolk County police said. Investigators will use new scientific techniques to advance the investigation as well as uncover the names of the remaining unidentified victims. The renewed efforts will ultimately lead them to the killer, who may have links to law enforcement.

The remains of nearly a dozen people, mostly sex workers, were unearthed a decade ago near Gilgo Beach.

At about the same time, disgraced Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke was accused of beating Christopher Loeb, who had stolen a duffel bag from Burke’s SUV.

During a podcast that aired in January 2021 Loeb said the duffel bag contained an incriminating pornographic DVD that featured footage of a masked man torturing a prostitute, an allegation that law enforcement officials have not verified.

Burke was also running the department when its homicide squad cut ties with the FBI, which was assisting in the serial killer probe.

The former chief served nearly four years in jail after pleading guilty to charges that he violated Loeb’s civil rights, but has never been linked to the Gilgo Beach killings.

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Suffolk County cops, investigating the disappearance of Shannan Gilbert, recovered the first of 10 sets of remains believed to be the work of one or more serial killers in the Gilgo Beach area in 2010.

The dead included eight women, an Asian man dressed as a woman and a toddler.

The first four bodies were those of women in their 20s who worked as prostitutes and were found within a quarter of a mile from each other.

Gilbert’s remains were recovered in the same area on Dec. 13, 2011.

Suffolk County police are offering a $25,000 reward for any information that will lead them to a suspect. Anyone with information regarding those responsible is urged to call (800) 220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.

©2022 New York Daily News. Visit nydailynews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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