So far ten bodies have been found along Long Island’s coast and still there are no leads. The sister of one of the victims in adamant that drugs is the one thing that binds at least five of the victim’s stories together. Irish-born cop Richard Downer is leading the investigation
The search near Jones beach in Long Island began after Shannan Gilbert’s disappearance last May. By December investigators, headed up by Police Commissioner Richard Dormer, had found the remains of four women. Dormer announced that they were looking for a killer, and as he suspected from the start, a serial killer.
Now, nearly seven months on, they have found the remains of 10 victims, who may have been killed by different murderers, but they still have no solid suspects. In an in-depth feature, with the New York Magazine, the families of the first four victims and Shannan Gilbert’s speak about their loved ones, their trauma and their theories on the murders.
The feature looks at the four women whose bodies were found (Maureen Brainard-Barnes, Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman, and Amber Lynn Costello) and the still-missing Shannan Gilbert. It says "all $200-an-hour escorts in their twenties, all but one of them five feet tall or shorter, who advertised online on Craigslist or similar websites."
All of these women have sad stories told by their families and a common affinity to drugs. Amber Lynn Costello’s sister, Kimberly Overstreet, spoke to the New York Magazine most bluntly. Overstreet has also worked as a prostitute and she introduced her own sister to the profession.
She said “The connection between these four women is cocaine…That wasn't my sister's drug of choice, but she had access to it. And if it was gonna make her money, she would do it. Shannan had a history of coke. Even though people won't admit it in public, just do your research and you'll see. So I think the killer likes to get high."
The feature also gave a more detail account than ever before of the harrowing phone calls made to Melissa Barthelemy’s little sister. Seven days after Barthelemy went missing the phone rang. The number that came up was Barthelemy’s missing cell. Amanda answered and the killer said “Is this Melissa's little sister?"
The killer went on to say . "I hear you're a half-breed." This meant that the killer knew what Amanda looks like, her father is black. During one of the calls the killer also teased Amanda and asked if she knew what her sister did for a living. He said “Are you gonna be a whore like your sister?"
In all there were seven calls made to the teenager. The police traced the calls to a phone in Midtown Manhattan and another to Massapequa in Long Island. In the last call in August 2009 he told Amanda that he had killed her sister.
Amanda insists that “He was calm, in control…He knew what he was doing."
Cops revisit old cases in the hope of nabbing Long Island Ripper
Long Island Butcher, Joel Rifkin, shares his thoughts on Craigslist killer