Police release picture of new evidence in Gilgo Beach murder case
Prosecutors today unveiled a new clue and detailed new technology being used to crack the case of the Gilgo murders.
During a news conference Thursday, Suffolk Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart released images of a black leather belt embossed with WH or HM. Police believe it was handled by the suspect and did not belong to any victims.
Police did not reveal the exact location the belt was found in but did say it was located on Ocean Parkway. They say the letters on the belt are about a 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch.
Ten sets of human remains were found along Ocean Parkway near Gilgo Beach between 2010 and 2011. Hart says police have now sent DNA samples from five of the unidentified victims to the FBI for genetic genealogy testing and launched Gilgonews.com as a platform to exchange information on the investigation with the public. They say the website is also an avenue for the public to send in tips anonymously.
“We're constantly re-evaluating, we're constantly trying new techniques,” said Hart. “Science and technology are moving forward at a mind-boggling pace.”
Suffolk police said part of the process of trying to identify the victims includes uploading DNA to public genealogy databases.
The human remains were found as police searched for missing sex worker Shannan Gilbert. Her body was found in December 2011 near Oak Beach. For years, police said they believed her death was accidental and that she was not murdered by the serial killer or killers.
Hart said Thursday that police “don't know whether it's natural causes or the cause of a criminal act.”
“[Gilbert] does not match the pattern of the Gilgo Beach homicides, but again, I want to emphasize to everyone here, we let the facts dictate where we're going to go with this investigation,” said Hart.
Before the news conference, the attorney for Shannan Gilbert's family held a news conference to call for the Suffolk County Police Department to release the 911 call made by Gilbert on the night she died.
“If there's nothing of value on those tapes, if it's merely Shannon's voice saying nothing of significance that we don't already know, then there can't be a reason why for nine years they have resisted and refused to give up those tapes,” said attorney John Ray.
Hart said the Gilbert call is considered “part of the investigation” that will be protected.
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