The Long Island Serial Killer

Family, attorney challenge police theory about cause of Gilbert's death

Produced by Liza Finley, Gregory F. McLaughlin, Lincoln Farr and Taigi Smith

(CBS) OAK BEACH, Long Island -- In the hours after midnight on May 1, 2010, Shannan Gilbert, an escort on her way to a job, drove past the place where the bones of the Long Island serial killer's victims lay hidden in the brush. She didn't know it then, but the mysterious events of the next few hours would forever link her to those four women and spark one of the largest murder investigations in Long Island history. And so it began.

"My sister was last seen running along the roads...She was in fear for her life that night," Sherre Gilbert told "48 Hours Mystery" correspondent Erin Moriarty. "And that was it... She just disappeared into the night."

It would be two days before Sherre learned her sister was missing... when Shannan's worried boyfriend called to say she hadn't come home.

"Immediately, I started to panic," she says."I could hear the fear in his voice."

It was the call Sherre and her sister, Sarra, had been dreading ever since learning Shannan, diagnosed with a bipolar disorder and struggling with depression and mood swings, had turned to selling her services online as an escort.

"Were you worried about her just going out on these dates, not knowing anything about the guys?" Moriarty asked Sarra.

"Yeah," she replied. "That's very scary, you know."

"What would she tell you when you would say you were worried about it?"

"She would just say, 'Don't worry, I know what I'm doing.' And she pretty much thought that, you know, it would never happen to her."

The Gilberts say they immediately filed a missing persons report, but with no news, they drove 140 miles from their home in upstate New York to Oak Beach, Long Island, to look for Shannan themselves. By then, she had been missing for eight days.

"We went to all the houses around the area to knock on their doors and just say, 'Hey listen, did you see my sister?'" Sherre said. "We gave them flyers. We went everywhere."

They spoke to a dozen witnesses and homeowners in the area trying to piece together a timeline. They learned that Shannan and her driver had left New York City shortly after midnight on May 1, 2010, and headed to a gated community in Oak Beach.

"My sister met the client through Craigslist and went to his house around 2:00 a.m.," Sherre explained. "Her driver dropped her off and she was there for quite a while and then - the client told her to leave, and for some reason, she started to panic."

Shannan's sister believes something awful happened in that house to terrify her. In fact, Shannan made a 23-minute call to 911 from inside the client's house. The Gilberts' attorney, John Ray was not allowed to hear the call, but says a top official in the investigation recently described it to him in detail.

"Shannan Gilbert said they were plotting to kill her and, 'They are trying to kill me,'" Ray said. "There was also a struggle. You could hear her screaming."

Still on the 911 call, Shannan fled the house.

"You can hear Shannan's heavy breathing... That goes on for five or six minutes," Ray said. "She goes down a narrow road - very narrow road...on her right was a marsh and on her left was Colletti's house."

Colletti is Gus Colletti, a retired insurance fraud investigator and resident of Oak Beach for over 30 years.

"It was like 5:00 in the morning," Colletti recalled. "I was in the bathroom shaving. ...All of a sudden, I heard screaming out here and banging on that door. Yelling, 'Help me, help me, help me.'"

He opened the door. Standing there was a young woman he would later learn was Shannan Gilbert.

"And I said to her, 'What's the matter?' She wouldn't answer me. She just kept staring at me and going, 'Help me, help me, help me.'"

"I reached over and grabbed that phone, dialed 911," Colletti continued. "When I said to her, 'I called the police. Sit down in that chair. They're on their way." She just looked at me and she ran right out the door."

Colletti said it was then that he noticed an Asian man in his 30s driving a black SUV.

"I could see a car come and stopping, coming a little bit and stopping," he said.

Asked if he thought Shannan was afraid of the man in the SUV, Colletti replied, "She was afraid of somebody."

Colletti said he then noticed that Shannan was hiding underneath the boat in his yard.

"Shannan went to one more house...knocked on the door...and Mrs. Brennan called 911 as well and reported that Shannan was outside," Ray explained. "She...leaves there and is not seen again by anyone who is credible."

Ray says that was around 5:30 a.m. He says authorities told him that the police didn't arrive for almost an hour.

"What time do the police get there?" Moriarty asked Ray.

"The police arrive at the community at 6:20 a.m.," he replied.

Police Commissioner Richard Dormer, since retired, admits there was a delay. By some accounts, Shannan was incoherent on that call - couldn't tell the operator where she was. It took those 911 calls from the neighbors.

"Now we know where she is. An officer was dispatched," said Dormer.

Gus Colletti was waiting at the gate for the officer when he arrived.

"Did the police seem concerned about the missing -- " Moriarty asked Colletti.

"Not at all."


"Not at all."


Asked if she thinks the fact that her sister was an escort influenced the investigation, Sarra told Moriarty, "Yes, I do. I believe they judged her by her profession and not as a person. Not as the missing sister, the missing aunt. They're just, 'Oh, a missing prostitute.'"

"My sister had other dreams, you know. She wanted to be a singer, an actress. She was pursuing that. And she was also goin' to school to be a writer," said Sherre.

The Gilberts say they badgered the police for seven months before investigators started searching in earnest for the missing Shannan Gilbert. It was a random sweep of a nearby beach in December that turned up the grisly grave site - the bodies of four young women like Shannan who simply disappeared.

In December of 2010, former Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer downplayed it, but there was little doubt about what his department was confronting. Four bodies had been discovered. All were young women in their 20s. All were online escorts.

One by one, the bodies were identified, and with each name, came the story of a troubled life cut short.

MELISSA BARTHELEMY: Disappeared July 12, 2009

Lynn Barthelemy's 24-year-old daughter, Melissa, had been missing for a year-and-a-half when the bodies were discovered.

"My fiance and I were actually watching CNN...but they were televising where they found the bodies...And we just looked at each other and we started cryin,'" Lynn recalled. "We had a sinking feeling that it was her. And then the next day when Suffolk's County Police Department contacted us and said that they needed to come to Buffalo and speak to us, we just knew."

After graduating from beauty school, Melissa moved from her small hometown near Buffalo to New York City to work as a hairdresser.

"I was terrified," Lynn said. "I mean, a big city like that. I'm like that's - 'they're gonna eat you alive.' But she was of age and all I could say was 'be careful' and call her all the time."

What Lynn didn't know at the time was that Melissa was actually working as an escort. In mid July 2009, after several days with no word from Melissa, Lynn panicked.

"Did she get hurt?" Lynn wondered. "We pull out the phone book, we get on the internet. We start callin' hospitals."

Lynn also contacted the NYPD to file a missing persons report, but she was in for a rude awakening.

"They didn't wanna hear anything," she said. "'She's 24. She's not on any psych meds. She's not missing. She's where she wants to be.' And that happened for three days consecutively."

Even the family's attorney, Steven Cohen, couldn't get police to take notice.

"I contacted them," he said. "And they said, 'She's a hooker. She's a prostitute. She was - she's an escort... We're not going to assign a detective to this."

About a week after Melissa disappeared, her 15-year-old sister, Amanda, got a call from Melissa's phone.

"When Amanda answered the phone, you know, she was so excited," Lynn said. "'Oh my God, Melissa's finally calling me.' And then, there's a guy on the other end."

"And this voice is saying, 'Oh, this isn't Melissa,'" Cohen explained.

"...he was soft-spoken and had - a very controlled and comfortable manner of speech, which made his horrific messages all the more devastating and he began to toy with her... And for the very first time, she heard the voice of the killer."

Suffolk County police told "48 Hours Mystery" that they believe the caller was, in fact, Melissa's killer.

And the calls didn't stop coming. Eight in total, including one in which the likely killer spoke to Lynn. He claimed he was with the NYPD and wanted to know if she had filed a missing persons report. But mainly he focused on Melissa's little sister and called to terrify her.

"And the killer said some pretty horrible things to Amanda," Cohen told Moriarty. "Sexually explicit things as to what he had done to Melissa, sexually explicit things as to what he was going to do to Amanda."

After the third call, police asked Verizon to tap Amanda's phone.

Authorities were able to trace some of the calls to a handful of busy locations in midtown Manhattan; near the Port Authority, the Empire State Building and Times Square. The caller always hung up before he could be identified. But the police were learning a lot about him based on his voice.

"I believe that he is between - his late 20s and his late 30s," Cohen said. "I've been led to believe by Amanda and by the data that I have that he is a white male."

Much has been made about the caller's familiarity with police investigative techniques. He knew what locations would be difficult to trace and how long he could stay on the phone.

"What about talk that this killer might even be part of law enforcement? Do you believe that?" Moriarty asked retired New York City homicide Commander Vernon Geberth, who has analyzed more than 300 serial murders in the United States.

"No," he replied. "Anybody who watches television - you're bombarded by forensic programs - you can't turn on the TV anymore without 'CSI,' 'NCIS,' 'Law and Order,' and 'Law and Order: Special Victims' and '48 Hours,' OK? So people are watching and they're learning."

"Do you believe this person could be watching the interview right now and enjoying the attention?"

"Well, yes, because he's not identified. In his position right now, he's in a position of superiority," Geberth replied. "He has beaten the police; no one knows who he is. He's immune. It's almost like feeling invulnerable."

That sense of confidence may have driven the caller to reach out to Amanda one last time on Aug. 26, 2009, with a chilling message.

"And he said, 'Do you know what I did to your sister?' And she said, 'No.' He said, 'Well, I killed Melissa,'" Cohen said. "And he also left one of the conversations with the threat that he knows where Amanda lives and might come after her."

"What kind of person calls the little sister of a victim and says, you know, 'You think you're gonna see your sister again? 'Cause I just killed her,' Moriarty asked Geberth.

"A psychopathic, sexual sadist. They're dangerous, a human predator," he replied.

"All I can say is he's sick. And he's gonna make a mistake. And we're gonna catch him," said Lynn.

Asked if he believes this man will probably kill again, Cohen said, "Oh, there's no question...he is getting better and better at it. He is very controlled, very calculating in what he does. And he's on a mission."

With each burlap-covered victim found on Gilgo Beach, the police learned more about the serial killer: his habits, his M.O. and his uncanny ability to avoid detection.

AMBER COSTELLO: Disappeared Sept. 2, 2010

"She used to say that she was better off dead..." said Dave Schaller, Amber Costello's roommate and friend. In December 2010, detectives showed up at his door. "I was like, 'You guys found Amber... You found her.'"

By then, Amber had been missing from their home on Long Island for three months. She lived just 10 miles from the killer's dumping ground. Schaller says the last time he saw Amber she was on her way to meet a client who had responded to her online ad.

Photos: Crime scene and victims

"I walked out the front door with her," Schaller recalled. "I was like, 'Be safe.' She gave me a hug and a kiss...and she left."

But when Amber didn't call or come home, says Schaller, no one in her family even looked for her.

"There's something so sad that Amber lived 27 years, disappears, and nobody reports her missing," remarked Moriarty.

"I think she lived her life as if like she didn't even care about herself..." said Schaller.

Schaller says Amber hated the person she'd become - a drug addict who turned tricks to support her habit.

"She knew what she was doing was just like degrading, just despicable," he said. "She absolutely hated it..."

"It strikes me right away David...predators prey on the weak," noted Moriarty.

"Exactly," Schaller agreed, "like a lion smells a dying gazelle."

Schaller says the client enticed Amber with the promise of big money.

"If she was going to stay the night ... she would have walked away with $1,500."

"A lot of money for her," said Moriarty.

"Yeah, that's a lot of money for any of these girls," Schaller replied.

The amount was almost six times Amber's going rate. According to

Schaller, the man was persistent, repeatedly calling and cajoling Amber that day.

"It was probably around 3 or 4 times...but she was on the phone with him for a while each time," he said.

Schaller says the caller was so persuasive, Amber - an experienced escort - walked out the door without her purse or even a cell phone.

"She had no cell phone with her that night?" asked Moriarty.

"No... She left it at home."

"She didn't even take her purse?"

"Nothing. This guy, whoever it is, he told these girls something they wanted to hear..." Schaller said. "For him to have gotten her to leave so recklessly... I think this guy got into her head somehow."

Somehow he convinced her to meet him alone - an unusual move for Amber, who normally required clients to come to her.

"Do you think the person she went out with that night is the same person who killed her?" Moriarty asked Schaller.

"There's no doubt in my mind..." he replied. "He wanted to kill her."

MEGAN WATERMAN: Disappeared June 6, 2010

Megan Waterman was last seen leaving a Holiday Inn Express on Long Island in June 2010.

Photos: Crime scene and victims

Significantly, this is the same Holiday Inn where a client asked Amber Costello to meet him just few weeks before her death. She refused, but Megan, who usually had someone accompany her on calls, let down her guard and went out into the night alone.

Megan Waterman was just 22 when she was murdered, leaving behind a 4-year-old daughter.

"The world lost an awesome girl, a wonderful, wonderful mom, a friend..." said Megan's mother, Lorraine Ela, who has a message for the killer:

"I want to know why you took my daughter... Why would you hurt a human being? You need to turn yourself in because you will be caught...and you will be caught soon."

MAUREEN BRAINARD-BARNES: Disappeared July 9, 2007

"I believe my sister needs a voice...needs her pride back...needs the respect she had before this all happened," said Melissa Cann. She wants people to know that her sister, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, may have worked as an escort, but she was much more than that.

"She was a human being...she was a mother...she was a loved sister...she was everything to us," Cann said. "If you came up and asked her for her last penny in her pocket, she would give it to you..."

In July 2007, Maureen left her home in Norwich, Conn., and boarded a train to New York City. She went to set up appointments with men on Craigslist. At the time, Maureen was a desperate, single mother of two.

"She was getting evicted from her house. ...She needed to get some money. It was her last resort...

"These are all the jobs she called and applied for... call center, data entry...and the list goes on and on," Cann said, showing off a list.

"She didn't turn to Craigslist [because] she wanted to... she turned to Craigslist because she felt like there was no way out. No one would give her a job."

Maureen checked into a Super 8 Hotel in Manhattan, and like the other young women, the 25-year-old seemed to vanish in the night.

"When I finally told myself Maureen was actually missing, that she wasn't coming back, I couldn't breathe. It was hard to breathe," said Cann.

Fearing the worst, Maureen's family went to the Norwich Police Department, submitted her name to the missing persons database, and told police she was an online escort.

"We said that Maureen went to New York and she never came back. The cop basically told us, 'Maybe your sister just ran away. Maybe she doesn't care about her kids...'" Cann said, her eyes welling with tears.

Melissa Cann says no one at the local police department took her fears seriously and the family went to look for Maureen themselves.

"My husband and my brother got on their motorcycles and actually took Maureen's picture with them and drove down to Manhattan... walked around the whole area asking people if they'd ever seen her," she recalled. "No one saw her, no one knew her... My brother came back and was like, 'It's a different world out there. No one wants to know you. No one cares."

On Dec. 13, 2010, Maureen's body was found alongside the others. She was the first woman to disappear in 2007. Melissa Cann simply wishes police had worked harder to find Maureen.

"I feel like they failed me and they failed my sister. They failed these other women that were found with my sister...I feel like if the right things were done maybe these girls would still be alive to this day," she said. "We could've saved those other girls."

In March 2011, three months after finding the bodies of Melissa, Amber, Megan and Maureen, police start finding more bodies and more body parts along a once pristine beach playground; Six new sets of human remains in all.

Police believe the latest victims were linked to the sex trade, but only one has even been identified:

Victim No. 5: Jessica Taylor, an escort missing since 2003; dismembered

Victim No. 6: Jane Doe; dismembered.

Victim No. 7: A baby girl; possibly Jane Doe's

Victim No. 8: An Asian man dressed in women's clothes

Victims 9 and 10: A female skull and a bag of female


Ten bodies... and none of them Shannan Gilbert. At this point, she had been missing for 10 months.

Her mother, Mari, and sister Sherre desperately tying to hold onto hope.

"I just did not want to believe that she wasn't ever gonna come home," said Mari.

"I knew that it was a possibility but I really just wanted to keep hope," said Sherre.

Photos: Crime scene and victims

The search for Shannan led police back to the last place she was seen:

The gated community of Oak Beach, just three miles from the dumping ground and to three men -- the man who hired her, the man who drove her and a doctor who put himself in the middle of the investigation.

Their stories are bizarre and confusing, starting with Joseph Brewer's - the john.

Although Brewer refused to go on camera, he did meet with "48 Hours."

He admitted soliciting Shannan online, but he said not for sex.

"So why did he pick, you know, a sex worker if he didn't want sex?" asked John Ray, the Gilbert family attorney.

Brewer claims he doesn't know what set Shannan off or why she made that call to 911. He says her fears were imagined. Attorney John Ray says they were real.

"When she made that call, do you believe she thought she was, her life was in danger?" Moriarty asked.

"No question she thought her life was in danger," replied Ray.

Brewer says he never harmed Shannan. He says he just wanted her out of his house and even brought the driver in to get her to leave. He can reportedly be heard on the 911 tape saying he was going upstairs. He says the last time he saw Shannan, she was running out of his house toward his neighbor's.

That neighbor, Gus Colletti is the one who tried to help Shannan and noticed that black SUV following her.

"I could see a car coming down the road very slowly with -- would stop and then go a little bit. Stop, go a little bit," said Colletti.

In that car was Michael Pak, Shannan's driver - the second man police wanted to talk to.

"I ran up to his car and I said to him, 'Where do you think you're going?'" said Colletti.

Pak told Colletti he was looking for Shannan.

"I said, 'Well, I called the police... they are on their way to bring her back," Colletti said. "He said, 'You shouldn't have done that.' I said, 'Well, I did.'"

Pak, who also wouldn't go on camera, told "48 Hours" he drove around looking for Shannan for about an hour. He couldn't find her, he says. So he left.

The more you learn about Michael Pak, the stranger he becomes.

On one hand, he's obsessed with his pet Chihuahuas, dressing them up in YouTube videos. On the other hand, he's driving Shannan Gilbert to meet her johns.

And clearly, he was inside Brewer's house when she made that call to 911.

"She says things like, 'Stop it. Stop it.' And you can hear the driver's voice saying, 'Fine, fine, fine,' words to that effect," said Ray.

In a text message, Pak admits to being inside the house during the call. Although he texts that Shannan was in "a paranoid state" he believes it was calculated -- "she was actually coherent and just acting crazy because she didn't want to pay me my cut."

He also says he "never touched her" and maintains that he had nothing to do with Shannan's disappearance.

And then there's the third man, a total wildcard: A neighbor and retired emergency services doctor who inserted himself in the middle of the mystery: Peter Hackett.

"Dr. Hackett came into this case almost immediately after the disappearance of Shannan. How? Well Dr. Hackett telephoned Mari Gilbert," Ray explained.

At the time, Mari says she didn't even know her daughter was missing.

"I received a call from a man who said his name was Peter Hackett and told me that Shannan was at his house, that he ran a halfway house for people who wanted to get off the street and that Shannan was there," she said.

Mari says Hackett then told her that Shannan left his house with Michael Pak and he never saw her again. But when Shannan's sisters made their trip to Oak Beach, Dr. Hackett told a different story.

"He denied calling my mother," she told Moriarty.

"Had he seen Shannan?"

"He said he never saw Shannan before."

"What did you think?"

"I thought that he was a liar and I still think he's a liar," Sherre said.

"You didn't think your mom could be mistaken?"

"I was there when my mother received the phone call, so there's no way."

Hackett denied making that call in press reports as well. Police learned otherwise.

"Do you believe that he called her mom? Moriarty asked former Commissioner Dormer.

"Yeah. Our information is that he did," he replied.

In fact, in a letter to "48 Hours" dated June 28 2011, Dr. Hackett admits he made not one phone call - but two to Shannan's family.

Hackett writes: "These calls were over a year ago now and exact content is difficult to remember, but, at no time... did I suggest I had ever met her or render medical care of any sort to her."

Read Dr. Hackett's letters to "48 Hours"

Hackett says he got the telephone numbers from Shannan's friend who was searching for her in Oak Beach and says he called just to see if he could "help in anyway."

"Those facts that Hackett admits the he called twice, when he first denied it, are not rationally explainable unless he has a bad motive," Ray told Moriarty. "You cannot find a reasonable reason for that to have occurred, for the denial to have occurred."

The police tell "48 Hours" that Hackett cooperated fully and is not a suspect. But Ray thinks Hackett should have been looked at more closely...He also thinks the same about Michael Pak and Joe Brewer.

"I don't know who killed her. I mean I can't say that any one of those three men actually did it. But you can say that at this stage all three of those people have put themselves in this inner circle of suspicion. How could you avoid that?" said Ray.

As with Hackett, the police said Pak and Brewer are not suspects. They also said they are not closing any doors and the investigation remains open.

Meanwhile, Shannan's family continues to wait for answers that never seem to come.

On Dec. 6, 2011, a year-and-a-half after Shannan disappeared, police finally found the first sign of the missing 23-year-old.

"They found a pair of jeans, a pair of shoes..., a pocketbook with identification in the pocketbook belonging to Shannan Gilbert," then-Commissioner Dormer told reporters at a press conference.

Then, seven days later, Shannan's remains were found.

"You've been holding out hope for all that to have it confirmed that your daughter's dead?" Erin Moriarty commented to Mari Gilbert.

"I still don't want to believe it. I don't," she replied.

Shannan's remains were found less than half a mile from where she was last seen running in Oak Beach.

Former Commissioner Dormer told "48 Hours Mystery" he did not suspect foul play. He believed that a disoriented Shannan ran into the tangled brush of the marsh, possibly trying to make it to the parkway, and accidentally drowned.

"But does it make sense, Commissioner, that her belongings would be found in one spot, including her clothes and her body a quarter mile away?" Moriarty asked.

"That's explainable because she's hysterical," Dormer replied. "And she's discarding her possessions as she moves along."

"But her clothes?"

"Well, her jeans could have come off from running in that environment," Dormer explained, "and that is a possibility..."

But John Ray, the attorney for the Gilbert family, isn't buying it.

"There isn't a scintilla of a reason why she would take off her jeans...leave them behind to run half naked...into the swamp," said Ray.

Five months after finding Shannan's remains, the medical examiner officially classified the cause of death as "undetermined." While the investigation remains open, authorities, according to Ray, still believe Shannan was not a victim of foul play.

"We can't accept and never will accept that this woman died by accident," Ray told reporters.

Ray put the police's theory to the test.

"We're going into the marsh now. This is where the police believe she entered the marsh," he told Moriarty.

Ray and two colleagues set out at the same time of year and same time of day to retrace the path authorities believe Shannan traveled. First they come to the area where former Commissioner Dormer said Shannan started discarding her belongings - including her jeans and her shoes.

"If she had abandoned her shoes, and she was walking barefoot through this, it would seem almost impossible without her cutting up her feet very badly on the broken reeds," he explained.

And why, Ray wonders, did Shannon continue to go deeper into the marsh when help was clearly in sight?

"She would have headed toward the houses which are not very far away from here. They appear to be at most less than a quarter of a mile from here," he said.

Ray and his team push on, another quarter mile, to where Shannan's remains were found. This is where Dormer theorized she drowned or died of exposure.

Former Police Comm: Shannan Gilbert likely drowned

Video: Ray retraces path authorities believe Shannan traveled

The water levels that day Shannan disappeared are still in question and heavily debated, but Ray says the medical examiner discussed it with him.

"The water here, according to the medical examiner in this spot is about the same height as it was on the day she died," Ray explained.

"You can see that my boots - they're calf high -do not sink all the way down into the water."

"To say that she drowned as was theorized seems extremely unlikely," said Ray.

What's more likely, according to Ray, is that Shannan was murdered and her body was later dumped in the marsh from Ocean Parkway.

"You'd want to put the body deep enough into the marsh from the parkway that children, pedestrians would not find her," said Ray.

Shannan's remains were found a mere 100 yards off of Ocean Parkway.

"The perfect place to have put her body if you murdered her is exactly where she was found," said Ray.

Asked if she believes her sister was murdered, Sherre Gilbert told Moriarty, "Yes. I believe that Shannan was murdered."

"You have no question about that?"


John Ray and the Gilbert family are planning on suing Suffolk County for neglecting to protect Shannan the morning she called 911.

"This is a tough question Commissioner, but... if that had been a wife of a resident there who had made this panicked 911 call and then suddenly disappears, wouldn't there have been much more of a search than there was for Shannan Gilbert?" Moriarty asked.

"No, I disagree with you - strongly," Dormer replied. "Number one, when the officer responded, he didn't know that that was a sex worker. ...

"Well, it didn't even matter. But I just think --"

"Well, he would -- no, he -- he conducted a search-- in that area," Dormer replied. "This was a normal...missing case of an adult."

"This wasn't normal," Moriarty said. "She was hysterical. She said, 'they're trying to kill me' on the phone."

"I don't want to, in any way, say that we didn't do the right thing that morning," Dormer responded.

While police say there is no connection between Shannan and the four women murdered at Gilgo Beach, Ray says the similarities can't be ignored.

"You think that Shannan Gilbert was killed by the serial killer?" Moriarty asked Ray.

"I believe the evidence is extremely strong that Shannan Gilbert was killed by the same person," he replied. "They're all sex workers...they're all on Craigslist. They're all women approximately the same age...they're found all... off the highway... All of them disappear and are not immediately found. How much more do you need?"

The police continue to hunt for the Long Island serial killer. The Shannan Gilbert case - though separate - remains open. And once again it's summer... when these girls disappeared.

On everyone's mind: Will he kill again?

"You never know," Sherre said. "You know he's still out there. He could be killing someone as we speak."

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to an arrest in the Long Island serial killer case.

Anyone with information is urged to call -800-220-TIPS (8477). Tips can also be submitted online.