Are Atlantic City Murders Tied to N.Y. Serial Killer?

Police seeking clues in the chilling 911 call of missing Craigslist escort.

December 14, 2010, 11:45 AM

Dec. 15, 2010— -- Law enforcement officials in New Jersey are looking into whether t four women killed in New York and dumped along a remote beach road are linked to the deaths of four prostitutes who worked the boardwalk area of Atlantic City in 2006.

Atlantic County Prosecutor Ted Housel has reached out to detectives in Suffolk County, N.Y., who are investigating the skeletal remains of four women found along Gilgo Beach on Long Island. Two of the women may have been escorts who found their clients on Craigslist, authorities said.

"We have been in contact with authorities in Suffolk County, New York. It would not be fair for us to comment on their investigation," Housel said in a statement to ABC News today.

The Prosecutor said, however, that his office is still investigating the deaths of the four women in 2006. According to his office, the women were prostitutes and their bodies were found in a marsh area off a New Jersey road in West Atlantic City, an eery similarity between that and the current case in New York.

The Atlantic City victims were also all discovered wearing no shoes, and had died as a result of stangulation. So far the police investigating the Long Island bodies have been unable to determine how they died or who they are.

One of the few clues in the New York investigation is a chilling 911 call in which a woman is heard screaming for help because "he's trying to kill me."

Mari Gilbert of Ellenville, N.Y., said her 24-year-old daughter Shannan disappeared last May. Police say the missing woman was a prostitute who was visiting a client on Fire Island, about a mile from the bodies were discovered.

"She was running and knocking on neighbors doors screaming he's trying to kill me," Mari Gilbert told ABC News.

Her sister Sherre Gilbert said, "She was basicly running away, trying to leave and it was heard, 'Get away from me, get away from me.'"

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer said the probe is aware of Gilbert's disappearance.

"She was a prostitute working off Craigslist and accompanied by a pimp. We located the pimp originally, spoke to him and got some information from him. It's still all part of this investigation," Dormer said.

Dormer also told ABC News today that the FBI has now joined in on the investigation.

"The FBI has offered all available resources in support of our investigation," Dormer said.

In another missing persons case, Maine authorities are waiting to hear back from Suffolk Police to see if one of the bodies found is linked to the disappearance of a 22-year-old woman.

Megan Waterman, who also worked as an escort, was last seen on June 6 at a hotel in Hauppauge, N.Y., a town near the Gilgo Beach where the bodies were discovered.

A call to Waterman's mother's residence in Maine today was answered by a person sobbing, before they hung up the phone.

Police told ABC News today they have determined that all four victims were women. On Tuesday they said the bodies were so badly decomposed that they couldn't determine the gender of two of the bodies.

Nevertheless, it could take weeks or months to identify the dead, Dormer said. So far police only know that the badly decomposed bodies were dumped in the area as much as 18 months ago.

New York's History of Serial Killers

The specter of a serial killer on the loose has alarmed police.

"Four bodies found in the same location pretty much speaks for itself. It's more than a coincidence. We could have a serial killer," Dormer told ABC News Tuesday.

Police combed the area for what they fear may be more victims Tuesday until the darkness forced a halt to the search.

The first body was found Saturday during a police training exercise. The area was chosen because it was near where Shannan Gilbert vanished. Three more bodies were found in the thick brush along the remote highway by police on Monday.

Police said some of the bodies were found wrapped in burlap sacks were about 500 yards apart and appear to have been thrown from a car, possibly as far back as two years ago.

"They weren't buried, and were in different stages of decomposition. Obviously some were there for some time," Dormer said.

"Common sense tells us it's not a coincidence," Suffolk County Det. Lt. Gerard Pelkofsky told ABC News New York Affiliate WABC.

If it does prove to be the work of a serial killer, it wouldn't be Long Island's first.

In 1993, Joel Rifkin was convicted of murdering 17 women. In 1987, Richard Angelo, nicknamed the "angel of death," murdered 25 patients.

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