Body believed to be Shannan Gilbert brings police no closer to LI serial killer

Shannan Gilbert, 23, was an online escort who went missing on May 1, 2010, after visiting a client in a gated community in Oak Beach, Long Island. Her dramatic final hours, which included a frantic 911 call, puzzled her family and eventually led to a extensive search of the area by Suffolk County Police. Seven months after she disappeared, a police canine unit discovered the bodies of the four other women a few miles from where Shannan was last seen. Her disappearance led to the serial killer investigation.Was Gilbert a victim of the L.I. serial killer? Suffolk County Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to an arrest in the case: 1-800-220-TIPS (8477) or
Michael Pak
Shannan Gilbert, 24, was last seen in Oak Beach on May 1, 2010, after apparently meeting a client she had booked through Craigslist. The bodies of the four other women, who worked as Craigslist escorts and were in their 20s, were found while police were searching for Gilbert.
Jersey City Police Dept.

(CBS) - A law enforcement source told CBS News that the discovery of a body believed to be that of Shannan Gilbert, who went missing 19 months ago, has brought investigators no closer to solving the Long Island serial killer case.

Pictures: Long Island serial killer victims

It was the search for Gilbert's whereabouts last December that eventually led police to 10 other sets of human remains in the underbrush along a Long Island beach highway.

But now police say they do not believe her death is connected to the other victims, most of whom, like Gilbert, were involved in the sex trade.

A law enforcement source told CBS News investigative producer Pat Milton that a metal plate was found with the remains likely to belong to Shannan Gilbert who was known to have had a metal plate in her jaw as the result of an injury.

The autopsy on the skeletal remains, which were uncovered Tuesday by Suffolk police in a dense marshy area near Oak Beach, is expected to take some time to complete. Investigators say the remains are likely to belong to Shannan Gilbert, theorizing based on circumstantial evidence that the death was consistent with drowning.

The medical examiner has what appears to be a "full skeleton" to work with trying to determine cause of death, the source told CBS News.

Scientists will be going "bone by bone" looking for any sign of traumatic injury which is expected to take a long time, the source said.

The source said the lack of evidence and the amount of time that has gone by since the murders have made it extremely difficult to determine who killed the victims whose bodies were found dumped near Gilgo Beach on the south shore of western Long Island.

Yet the source says questions still remain among investigators as to whether the murders are the work of one person or more than one person.

The source said there appear to be inconsistencies with location and with the manner the bodies were found; some were bound, and some, but not all, were wrapped in burlap.

Complete coverage of the Long Island murders on Crimesider