Pros­e­cu­tor re­news in­ter­est in Long Is­land se­rial killer case

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

For years, the thicket along a beach high­way on Long Is­land held a hor­ri­ble se­cret. Hid­den from pass­ing driv­ers were the skele­tal re­mains of 10 peo­ple, mostly young women who had worked as pros­ti­tutes. Who killed them, and why, is a mys­tery that has vexed a slew of sea­soned homi­cide de­tec­tives. The case took an in­trigu­ing turn when a vet­eran county pros­e­cu­tor be­came the first au­thor­ity to pub­licly name a sus­pect in at least one of the deaths: John Bit­trolff, a Long Is­land car­pen­ter who was sen­tenced to con­sec­u­tive 25 years-to-life terms in prison this week for beat­ing two pros­ti­tutes to death in 1993 and 1994.

Robert Bian­cav­illa, an as­sis­tant dis­trict at­tor­ney in Suf­folk County, said af­ter the sen­tenc­ing that some of the re­mains found near Gilgo Beach “may be at­trib­uted to the hand­i­work of Mr Bit­trolff.” If au­thor­i­ties have ev­i­dence to back up their sus­pi­cions, though, they aren’t say­ing. Bian­cav­illa de­clined to elab­o­rate. Suf­folk County po­lice of­fi­cials de­clined to com­ment. They last spoke pub­licly about the case nearly two years ago when they an­nounced de­tec­tives were work­ing with FBI pro­fil­ers on de­vel­op­ing leads. Any sug­ges­tion that Bit­trolff had any­thing to do with the dead women is “laugh­able,” said his lawyer, Jonathan Man­ley. Even a lawyer for the fam­ily of one of those linked to the case ex­pressed skep­ti­cism. “To stir this pot when there’s no ev­i­dence is look­ing to eas­ily blame a con­victed killer and not have to per­form the in­ves­ti­ga­tion that is re­quired,” said John Ray, an at­tor­ney for the fam­ily of Shan­nan Gil­bert, whose dis­ap­pear­ance in 2010 sev­eral miles from Gilgo Beach trig­gered the hunt that ex­posed the larger mys­tery. Gil­bert, a 24-year-old sex worker, van­ished in spring 2010 af­ter leav­ing a client’s house on foot and dis­ap­pear­ing into the marsh.

Months later, a po­lice of­fi­cer and his ca­daver dog were look­ing for her body in the thicket along Ocean Park­way when they hap­pened upon the re­mains of a dif­fer­ent woman. Within days, three other bod­ies were found, all within a short walk of one an­other. By spring 2011, that num­ber had climbed to 10 sets of hu­man re­mains - those of eight women, one man and one tod­dler - all found along sev­eral miles of park­way. — AP

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