Protecting Suffolk

Five years later, a ‘fresh look’ at Gilgo Beach killings

Tim Sini with a serious expression and his arms crossed.

(CNN)Nearly five years after the first body was found along a beach in Long Island, New York, police are renewing the search for a killer. In a press conference on Wednesday, the Suffolk County Police Deputy Commissioner announced that the FBI will join the investigation into bodies found at Gilgo Beach a case that since 2010 has dredged up at least eleven sets of human remains.

Police in 2010 discovered the first set of female bodies among the bushes along an isolated strip of waterfront property on Gilgo Beach while searching for Shannan Gilbert, a missing 24-year-old woman from Jersey City, New Jersey.

By the time Gilbert’s body was found one year later on neighboring Oak Beach, investigators, including the FBI, had unearthed 10 sets of human remains strewn across two Long Island counties. Police said many of the victims identified had advertised prostitution services on websites such as Craigslist.

No arrests have been made in the slayings, and authorities have conflicting theories about whether a serial killer is responsible.”I want to convey to the loved ones and the family of all the victims that we are dedicated to do everything we can to solve this case,” Suffolk County Police Deputy Commissioner Timothy Sini said.

The FBI will collaborate closely with the local police and take a more “active and prominent” role in the investigation, according to Sini. “The FBI, being a federal agency, has resources that they can bring to the table. They have expertise in serial murder cases. The possibilities certainly are endless,” Sini said.

County shakeup

The renewed interest in the case comes after a shakeup in leadership in the Suffolk County Police Department, whose former police chief, James Burke, was arrested Wednesday on charges he violated the civil rights of a man by beating him, after the man was arrested for allegedly breaking into Burke’s police vehicle in 2012, according to New York federal prosecutors.

Sini was appointed in November to fill the role of outgoing Suffolk County Police Commissioner Edward Webber, according to CNN affiliate News 12 Long Island. “When the new leadership team came into the department, we began a top to bottom assessment of the department and that included the Gilgo homicide investigation,” Sini said. “The best course of action was to take a fresh look at these murders.” The full extent of the FBI’s involvement in the investigation will be determined in the coming weeks, Sini said.

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