A suspect has been arrested in a series of killings of women near Gilgo Beach on Long Island’s South Shore, according to three people with knowledge of the case.
Police officers cordoned off a block of First Avenue in Massapequa Park, and vehicles and officers converged on the scene.
District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney and other law enforcement officials announced a news conference at 4 p.m.
The killings terrorized residents for more than a decade as body after body was discovered in the remote area about 40 miles from Midtown Manhattan.
In May 2010, Shannan Gilbert, a 24-year-old from Jersey City, NJ, who worked as a prostitute, was reported missing on Long Island. She disappeared while working as an escort in Oak Beach, a gated community three miles from Gilgo Beach.
Seven months later, Suffolk County police discovered four bodies wrapped in burlap along Ocean Parkway, three miles from where Mrs. Gilbert was last seen alive. In 2011, they were identified by DNA as Amber Lynn Costello, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, Megan Waterman and Melissa Barthelemy. All were in their 20s and worked as escorts. Later that year, they found remains of Valerie Mack, a 24-year-old mother from southern New Jersey who paid the bills as an escort and had been missing for 20 years.
In total, remains of nine women, a man and a child were discovered in the area. Police said they believed some of the deaths were the work of a serial killer, but the investigation bore little fruit for years.
In 2020, investigators at a news conference unveiled a photo of what they said was significant evidence gathered early in the investigation: a black leather belt, embossed with a pair of letters about half an inch high. Investigators said it spelled the initials “WH” or “H M.”
Ms. Gilbert’s remains were found in December 2011, but investigators said they do not believe her death is linked to the serial killer. Ms. Gilbert’s family disagreed and demanded the release of more evidence.