April 4, 2011 — -- Three additional sets of human remains have been discovered on the same New York beach where a serial killer is believed to have dumped the bodies of five other women.
Suffolk County police announced the discovery of the bodies today, raising the number of victims to at least eight.
Searchers used fire truck bucket ladders for an aerial view as others walked Oak Beach and Gilgo Beach in Long Island. They've waded through tall tick-infested vegetation since last week searching for more bodies and clues.
Cadaver dogs have had difficulty maneuvering through the thick brush, Dominich Varrone, Suffolk County's chief of detectives, said at a news conference today.
"They don't like getting smacked in the face with the bramble," he said.
As many as 20 officers have already been treated for poison ivy during the searches.
Police first discovered four skeletal remains in December when searching for missing prostitute Shannan Gilbert. None of the remains have matched Gilbert. A fifth body was discovered last week, but that was determined to not to be the body of Gilbert.
"We still believe that Shannan Gilbert is in this area," Varrone said.
Police said the search would be continued Tuesday over a broader area.
If none of the three newly discovered remains are identified as Gilbert, it will leave the possibility that a ninth body remains to be found.
The victims who were previously identified were all prostitutes who had advertised on the internet site Craigslist.
The bodies are believed to the work of a serial killer. Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer told ABC News in December, "Four bodies found in the same location pretty much speaks for itself. It's more than a coincidence. We could have a serial killer."
Investigators had made little progess in the hunt for the serial killer, according to sources familiar with the investigation.
Detectives have conducted interviews with associates, neighbors, friends and relatives of the identified victims, sources familiar with the investigation told ABC News.
In January, police identified one of the skeletons found on the secluded stretch of beach as belonging to Megan Waterman, a young woman who was last seen at a nearby Holiday Inn with her boyfriend in June.