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Long Island serial killer? Police return to location of 8 bodies

Authorities look for remains near Gilgo Beach
CBS/WCBS
Long Island serial killer? Police return to location of 8 bodies
Authorities look for remains near Gilgo Beach
CBS/WCBS

(CBS/WCBS/AP) OAK BEACH, N.Y. - Investigators returned Tuesday to the remote stretch of beach on New York's Long Island where they found three additional sets of human remains Monday, bringing the total number of bodies found in the area to eight.

PICTURES: Long Island serial killer's victims?

However, rainy, blustery weather has been hampering the search.

Suffolk County Police were combing the woods along Gilgo and Oak Beaches, concerned that there may be more victims hidden in the tangle of thick underbrush.

The new remains are in addition to the remains of a victim found in the area last week, about 45 miles east of New York City. That victim has not been identified, and police have not positively connected those remains to the bodies of four prostitutes found nearby in December.

Police discovered the bodies while searching for 24-year-old Shannan Gilbert, who went missing in May in the area, and are investigating whether any of the newly-discovered remains are hers.

"The medical examiner is going to be looking at the possibility that Shannan Gilbert is one of the remains," Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer said. "We do have forensic and information available to the ME that would either prove it's her or eliminate her."

The search for Gilbert is expected to resume Tuesday. Gilbert, like the other women whose remains have been identified, reportedly advertised as a prostitute on Craigslist.

Authorities have identified the four bodies found in December as Amber Lynn Costello, 27, originally of Wilmington, N.C.; Megan Waterman, 22, of Scarborough, Maine; Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 28, of Norwich, Conn.; and Melissa Barthelemy, 24, of Buffalo, N.Y.

Police suspect a serial killer but so far have no suspects.

According to CBS affiliate WCBS, police searching on foot and from above in helicopters and fire truck buckets found the latest three sets of remains as they scoured tick-infested underbrush and evergreens on the barrier island south of Long Island, Dormer said.

They also used cadaver dogs, police academy cadets, detectives and volunteer firefighters.

Investigators have searched the area, roughly 7.5 miles, several times since December. Dormer said the discovery of the latest remains gives investigators new possible leads into the killings of all the victims.

Complete coverage of the Long Island bodies case on Crimesider