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Escort Claims Ex-Suffolk Police Chief Is Tied To Gilgo Beach Case

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- A woman has come forward with information claiming to connect disgraced former Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke to the unsolved Gilgo Beach killings on Long Island.

The woman, an escort, says she had sex with Burke at wild parties in an Oak Beach home, not far from where several bodies were found linked to the so-called Gilgo Beach serial killer case, 1010 WINS' Al Jones reported.

Attorney John Ray, who represents the family of Shannan Gilbert-- whose body was found dumped along a quiet strip of Ocean Parkway in 2011, said this moves Burke into the circle of suspects.

"It certainly puts him right at the center of the pool of suspects for the death of Shannan Gilbert," Ray said.

The woman claims she partied with Burke in Oak Beach in 2011, a year after Gilbert went missing in the same neighborhood.

"He seemed to like to choke me. Aggressive, arrogant, untouchable," she said. "That could've been my grave, this is bigger than me."

In a statement, Burke's attorney said Ray's accusations do not even warrant a comment.

It was six years ago this week that a K-9 officer and his cadaver dog on a training mission searching for Gilbert happened upon what would become the first of 11 sets of human remains.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Justice Department's Missing and Unidentified Persons Systems records were updated to show DNA links a woman's torso found stuffed inside a rubber bin in Hempstead Lake State Park in 1997 to the same female victim whose skeletal remains were found along Ocean Parkway in April 2011.

The DNA also linked the woman's remains to the remains of a toddler found several miles down the parkway.

The link between the body in the park and the so-called Gilgo Beach serial killer case is the first development in the vexing murder mystery in years. As they have been for years, police on Wednesday remained mum about the investigation.

Neither the woman's nor the child's remains have been identified. Three other sets of remains in the case also remain unidentified.

Human remains of eight women, a man and the toddler were found strewn along several miles of thicket adjacent to the parkway.

Gilbert's remains were found several miles away near a private beach community a year after the first discovery of bodies in 2010, but police insist her death is not connected to the others.

Police on eastern Long Island suspect one or more killers are responsible for the spree that began more than 20 years ago. No suspects have ever been formally identified in the deaths of the 11 people, some of whom worked in the sex industry.

The woman whose torso was found in Hempstead park had been nicknamed "Peaches'' by investigators because of a large heart-shaped peach tattoo she had on her chest. The torso was discovered stuffed in a plastic tub, covered by garbage bags.

Acting Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter, whose department is investigating the Peaches case, declined to comment on the latest development.

Last year, Suffolk County Police Commissioner Tim Sini said the FBI would be joining the investigation and agents were working to develop a profile of a possible suspect. The FBI previously assisted with a search for victims shortly after the bodies were found but had not directly participated in the investigation until last year, Sini has said.

A spokesman for Sini didn't immediately comment Wednesday.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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