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Long Island Serial Killer Case: Suffolk County District Attorney Blasts Rumors

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 05/09/2012 3:45 pm Updated: 05/09/2012 3:45 pm

Long Island Serial Killer
Suffolk County officials tried to dampen interest in rumors that they've identified a suspect connected to the deaths of 10 people found on a barrier island.

Officials investigating 11 dead bodies found on Long Island since 2010 are trying to tamp down rumors that they've identified a suspect.

"Unfounded, anonymous Internet postings or rumors about who may be a suspect should be given the appropriate weight they deserve by those who read them," said Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota's office in a statement yesterday.

"It should be remembered that this unsubstantiated 'gossip' can cause substantial harm and emotional trauma, not only to members of the families mentioned in the Internet postings, but also to the families of the victims."

The Internet has been abuzz with speculation that the DA's office and Suffolk County police are hot on the trail of a suspect. One story that gained traction online was that the killer committed suicide when he learned that his arrest was imminent, the Long Island Press reported.

Police have denied that they're poised to make an arrest.

The case began in December 2010 with the disappearance of 24-year-old escort Shannan Gilbert who was seen screaming and running from a john's Oak Beach home. The search for her turned up the remains of 10 other people -- including several reported female prostitutes -- in dense vegetation along Ocean Parkway.

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  • Long Island Human Remains

    An aerial view of the area near Gilgo Beach and Ocean Parkway on Long Island where police have been conducting a prolonged search after finding ten sets of human remains.

  • Long Island Human Remains

    Articles about the discovery of bodies near a Long Island, New York beach as seen in April 6 issues of Newsday and the New York Daily News newspapers on April 7, 2011 in N.Y. Four bodies recently found near the town of Gilgo Beach on Long Island, about 45 miles from New York City, brings the count to eight bodies discovered in the area, including four last December, leading authorities to speculate there is a serial killer at work. The disappearance of prostitute Shannan Gilbert of Jersey City, New Jersey started the search by local officials that led to the discovery of the bodies. (Stan Honda, AFP / Getty images)

  • Long Island Human Remains

    Investigators search for remains in a marsh area just east of Oak Beach, N.Y., in December 2011.

  • Long Island Human Remains

    A Long Island police officer sits at the entrance to a road during a December 2011 search.

  • Long Island Human Remains

    In a photograph provided by the Suffolk County Police Department, a map of the crime scene shows where several bodies have been discovered along Ocean Parkway in Suffolk County, N.Y.

  • Long Island Human Remains

    An aerial view of the area near Gilgo Beach and Ocean Parkway on Long Island where police have been conducting a prolonged search after finding multiple sets of human remains.

  • Long Island Human Remains

    An undated photograph of Maureen Brainard-Barnes, provided by the Suffolk County Police Department during a press conference held at Suffolk County Police Headquarters. Brainard-Barnes's was one of several bodies discovered along Ocean Parkway in Suffolk County.

  • Long Island Human Remains

    An undated photograph of Megan Waterman, provided by the Suffolk County Police Department during a press conference held at Suffolk County Police Headquarters. Waterman was one of several bodies discovered along Ocean Parkway in Suffolk County.

  • Long Island Human Remains

    An undated photograph of Melissa Barthelemy, provided by the Suffolk County Police Department during a press conference held at Suffolk County Police Headquarters. Barthelemy was one of several bodies discovered along Ocean Parkway in Suffolk County.

  • Long Island Human Remains

    An undated photograph of Amber Lynn Costello, provided by the Suffolk County Police Department.

  • Long Island Human Remains

    Photograph provided by the Suffolk County Police Department of an unidentified male, one of several bodies discovered along Ocean Parkway in Suffolk County, N.Y. Police released the sketch in hopes that someone might recognize him.

  • Long Island Human Remains

    In this artist's rendering provided by the Suffolk County Police Department, a composite sketch of an unidentified victim in the investigation of the remains discovered off Ocean Parkway in April 2011.

  • Long Island Human Remains

    This photo provided by the Suffolk County Police Department shows Jessica Taylor. On May 9, 2011 the head and hands of Jessica Taylor were found along a Long Island highway. Her headless, handless body was found in July 2003, in Manorville.

  • Long Island Human Remains

    Two undated photos of Shannan Gilbert released by the Suffolk County Police Department.

  • Long Island Human Remains

    Suffolk County Police and police recruits search an area of beach on April 5, 2011, in Babylon, N.Y.

  • Long Island Human Remains

    A Suffolk County Police officer searches through brush along a stretch of beach highway in April 2011.

  • Long Island Human Remains

    Police use a bucket lift near a crime scene during a search on Jones Beach Island in April 2011.

  • Long Island Human Remains

    Suffolk County Police divers search for human remains in the waters of Hemlock Cove.

  • Long Island Human Remains

    Suffolk County Police divers search for human remains in the waters of Hemlock Cove.

  • Long Island Human Remains

    An aerial view of police cars near near Gilgo Beach and Ocean Parkway on Long Island in April 2011.

  • Long Island Human Remains

    K-9 unit police use a cadaver dog to search an area in Oak Beach.

  • Long Island Human Remains

    Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer points out photographs of jewelry recovered from bodies found along Ocean Parkway in Suffolk County during a September 2011 news conference.

  • Video's "Vigil For Missing Woman Feared Victim of Serial Killer" info

    A vigil for woman feared victim of a serial killer.

A lawyer for Gilbert's family said that her relatives and he have been inundated with calls about the suicide of the alleged suspect.

"It's a rumor that's been flying about and gathering steam for weeks," John Ray told The Huffington Post. "It's become a frenzy."

But the family hasn't been swept up in the expectation that police will make an arrest.

"We keep our eye on everything," Ray said, "but we filter out what's dubious."

Gilbert's body was found in a marsh last December. A week ago the medical examiner's officer announced it couldn't determine a cause of death.

Police said they believe Gilbert accidentally drowned, but Ray called that explanation "absurd." The family believes she was murdered.

The statement from Spota's office said the mainstream media has peppered law enforcement officials with hundreds of inquiries about the accuracy of the web-based gossip. County police and the district attorney said they won't talk about the case again until they "have additional information...that serves the public or the investigation by its release."

In addition to Gilbert, eight women's remains have been found, one man and one female toddler, according to the Long Island Press. Some victims haven't been identified yet, according to the Associated Press. A serial killer -- or killers -- could be responsible for several of these deaths, police have said.

Earlier on HuffPost:

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