Linking the Gilgo and Manorville Homicides

Eleven years after an unidentified woman was murdered and dismembered, her torso left in the Manorville Pine Barrens, the rest of her body—her hands, head, and leg—is found in the brush off Ocean Parkway.

Seven years after Jessica Taylor was murdered and dismembered, her torso left in the Manorville Pine Barrens within miles of the first woman, the rest of her body—her hands, head, and forearm—is found in the brush off Ocean Parkway.

The heads and partial remains of both these women are found five months after the bodies of four other women—Megan Waterman, Melissa Barthelemy, Maureen Brainard-Barnes and Amber Lynn Costello—are also found in the brush off Ocean Parkway near Gilgo Beach, giving investigators the first solid link between the Manorville cold cases and the Ocean Parkway homicides.

At the very least, two or more unknown killers coincidentally used the same dumping grounds. At most, one person has been targeting women working as prostitutes and killing them for at least a decade. The four women found near Gilgo beach all advertised escorting services online and Taylor worked the streets in NYC.

Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said the bodies of the four women at Gilgo were handled in a very different manner from the bodies of Taylor and the Jane Doe found in Manorville.

Waterman, Barthelemy, Brainard-Barnes and Costello were reportedly strangled and there was no attempt at all made by the killer or killers to hide the women’s identities.

As for the two women found in Manorville, Spota said the killer was “very intent on preventing the remains to be identified.”

In Taylor’s case, a tattoo she had on her hip of a wing that read “Remy’s Angel” was almost completely gouged out and mutilated. A police photo of the tattoo shows only the tip of the wing remained in tact and the rest appeared to be cut vertically multiple times by a razor blade or knife. Her head, and therefore her dental records, were cut off and missing. Her hands, and therefore her fingerprints, were cut off and missing.

In the case of the unidentified Jane Doe, not only were her head and hands missing, but part of her lower right leg, leading police to believe at the time, the woman must have had an identifying mark or maybe a tattoo on her ankle.

According to Suffolk County police reports, the nude woman was discovered on November 19, 2000 at 11 a.m. by hunters in the woods. She is believed to have been left there in September of 2000. She is described as 30-40 years old, 4’10” to 5’4” possibly with brown hair. The body had been cut into pieces and left in multiple plastic bags. The woman’s head, hands and leg were also reportedly in a plastic bag when police found them on April 4, 2011 on Ocean Parkway.

Taylor’s body was found off Halsey Manor Road out in the open on a pile of sticks and wood just off a paved access road to a sump. She was also nude and it was a woman walking her dog who found her. Taylor was last seen just weeks before working the streets near the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan, a place formerly known as the Minnesota Strip because prostitution was so rampant in the area and many girls were coming from Minnesota, where authorities were tougher on prostitution, to get work. Taylor’s head, hands and forearm were found together on March 29, 2011 on Ocean Parkway.

Police say the differences between the conditions of the bodies found on Ocean Parkway and the conditions of the bodies found in Manorville, could point to two or more separate killers. After all, why would one killer try so hard to hide the identities of two victims and not try at all to hide the identities of four others?

The Manorville bodies were discovered very soon after they were dumped. And they weren’t well-hidden. Taylor’s torso was left literally yards away from the main road and uncovered. Police have said she was found on a plastic sheet as though someone dragged or pushed her out of the car and then drove off. But the parts of Taylor’s body—and Jane Doe’s body—that would help police identify her, those were hidden in the brush of Ocean Parkway in spots where there are no streetlights for miles or in the pitch black gaps between them. They were left in the thick, twisted branches of wild trees that no one walks through. They weren’t found until now.

So, maybe the differences in the way the bodies were handled mean these six women were victims of multiple killers. Or maybe one killer decide to stop trying so hard, and to put the entire bodies of his next victims in the one spot that has stayed under the radar for the past decade.

Either way, police are convinced there are at least two killers at work, even if the two women found in Manorville and the four women found on Ocean Parkway are victims of the same killer.

Because there are still four more victims. One, police have confirmed is an Asian male in his late teens or early 20s. Another is a female child between 18 and 24 months old, wrapped in a blanket.

Two more sets of remains have yet to be identified at all.

And the results of FBI imaging of Ocean Parkway, which were to target specific areas of interest, have not been released yet, which could mean the search for more remains is still not over.