Ten dead bodies and no suspects. Police in Long Island are hunting a serial killer and hope to catch him before he strikes yet again

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Shannan Gilbert, 23, was missing. An escort, she’d disappeared in May 2010, after visiting a client in Long Island, New York State. Police began an exhaustive search for her. And in December that year they found skeletal remains of a woman wrapped in burlap, dumped on a remote part of Gilgo beach. But it wasn’t Shannan.

Later officers were able to identify the body as Melissa Barthelemy, 24. And near Melissa’s body there were the remains of three more women – Megan Waterman, 22, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 25, and Amber Lynn Costello, 27.

The victims (PA Photos)

The victims (PA Photos)

Like Shannan, they all worked as prostitutes who advertised on Craigslist. Each had been strangled to death. Police commissioner Richard Dormer told the Press: ‘Four bodies found in the same location pretty much speaks for itself… We could have a serial killer.’

But it wasn’t just four bodies. By November 2011 police had found a total of 10 dead bodies in the area. Most of the victims were women but one was a man dressed in women’s clothing, and one was the remains of a small girl, believed to be the child of one of the dead women. All were believed to be victims of the Long Island serial killer.

Police search for human remains (PA Photos)

Police search for human remains (PA Photos)

The following month Shannan’s body was found in marshland around a mile from the brutal body dumping ground. Though her disappearance was what sparked the investigation into the Long Island Serial Killer, a coroner ruled that her death was unrelated to the case. Doubt has been cast on this verdict by Shannan’s loved ones.

To date, there are 17 victims who could be linked to the so-called Long Island serial killer. Now police and the people of Long Island must be praying that he doesn’t strike again before he’s finally caught.