Suffolk County police announced on Friday that they can identify one of the previously unnamed victims in the Gilgo Beach murders, nearly two decades after part of her body was first discovered.
Police were unable to confirm when the victim is named but said it would be in the near future.
The news came four months after police revived the cold case investigation and released footage of a belt found at the crime scene.
“The Suffolk County police, along with the FBI, positively identified” Manorville Jane Doe, “also known as” Jane Doe # 6, “the police said in a statement Friday.
“The department announced the use of DNA techniques earlier this year in our ongoing efforts to advance research,” it added.
Jane Doe # 6’s body in the Gilgo Beach murder case, police say, was identified nearly twenty years ago 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 police searched for missing sex worker Shannan Gilbert
“Using this technology, the department successfully identified” Manorville Jane Doe, “also known as” Jane Doe # 6, “the remains of which were located in Manorville in 2000 and Gilgo Beach in 2011.”
The victim’s decomposed remains, a white woman in her thirties, were found in two separate locations on Long Island, more than a decade apart.
Her naked torso was found in a wooded area of Manorville 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.
In total, 11 sets of human remains were found along a Long Island highway in 2010 and 2011 after police hunted down a missing sex worker, Shannan Gilbert.
This included Gilbert’s remains, which the death police say has no connection.
The unexpected announcement on Friday came after police released images of a black leather belt found at the crime scene in January.
Cope also created a website specifically for the investigation in an attempt to finally resolve the cold case for which no arrests have been made.
The first four bodies found were those of women in their twenties who, according to the police, worked in prostitution (all shown). In total, in 2010 and 2011, the remains of eight women, an Asian man and a toddler were found along miles of parkway
The announcement comes 10 years after a search for Shannan Gilbert (left and right), 24, led to the gruesome discovery of 10 sets of human remains. Gilbert, a 24-year-old sex worker, went missing a few miles from Gilgo Beach in 2010 after leaving a client’s house on foot
Geraldine Hart, Suffolk County Police Commissioner, announced in January that the belt appears to have the initials WH or HM.
Hart said authorities believe the belt was worn by the suspect and was not one of Gilgo Beach’s victims. She did not indicate a specific location 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 felt it was time to release the information.
Hart did not say whether the killer’s DNA was taken off the belt, but she did announce that Suffolk County police are using genetic genealogy in hopes of cracking the case.
The technology has now led to the identification of one of the victims, Friday’s statement said.
The police announcement comes 10 years after a search for Shannan Gilbert, 24, led to the gruesome discovery of 10 sets of human remains.
Gilbert, a 24-year-old sex worker, went missing a few miles from Gilgo Beach in 2010 after leaving a client’s house on foot and disappearing into the swamp.
Months later, a police officer and his cadaver dog searched her body in the thicket along Ocean Parkway when they encountered another woman’s remains in December 2010.
Within a few days, three other bodies were found, all within a short walk of each other.
Suffolk County police announced on Friday that they have identified Jane Doe # 6
The unexpected announcement on Friday came four months after police released images of a black leather belt found at the crime scene, branded with WH or HM
No further discoveries were made from December 2010 to March 2011 when a second wave of horrific finds began.
By the spring of 2011, the number of bodies had risen to 10 sets of human remains – those of eight women, an Asian man and a toddler – all found along miles of parkway.
The Asian man, who according to the authorities 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 twenties who, according to the police, worked as prostitutes.
Maureen Brainard Barnes, 25, was 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 eight victims have been 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 while searching for missing sex worker Shannen Gilbert
The remains of Melissa Barthelemy, 24, who lived 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 finding the second batch of bodies from March 2011, after discovering 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 an enigmatic crime scene extending from a park near the borders of New York City to a resort community on Fire Island and to the far east of 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.
The next two weeks, five more remains were discovered on Gilgo Beach.
Other body parts found at Gilgo Beach at the time were also linked to another corpse found in Manorville in 2000, that of the female victim now identified.
Police believe that bodies found in 2011 predate December 2010.
No arrests were made on any of their deaths.
Gilbert’s body was later found in the swamp in the Oak Beach community in December 2011, about five miles east of where the other 10 sets were discovered.
The police have long claimed that Gilbert’s death was accidental and excluded 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 through the wetlands, but her relatives have long contested that determination.
An independent autopsy result commissioned by Gilbert’s mother showed that she too could 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, at her New York state home.
Police search the wooded area near where the bodies were found in April 2011
In a conversation about the bodies near Gilgo Beach, investigators have said several times in recent years that it is unlikely that one person killed all the victims.
Last September, New York State officials determined that researchers could use the scientific technology in the Gilgo case.
The technology has not been approved in the state, but has helped authorities in other states identify notorious murderers like the Golden State Killer.
The investigation had been dormant, at least in public, for years until the seat belt evidence was revealed in January.
Authorities also launched a website exclusively for the study called GilgoNews.com. The public can give anonymous tips and keep up to date with information about the case on the website.
The victim’s name will be announced through the site, police said.