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LI police eye serial killer angle in beach bodies

December 15, 2010 2:15:18 PM PST
The mother of a Maine woman who worked as a Craigslist escort and went missing from a hotel on Long Island says police have told her daughter might be one of four bodies found dumped along a beach.

Twenty-two-year-old Megan Waterman, of Scarborough, Maine, was last seen in June in Hauppage, where she went with her boyfriend.

Waterman's mother, Lorraine Ela, told The Associated Press that a Scarborough detective told her he was "leaning toward one of the four victims being Megan, but he's not 100 percent guaranteed."

Police in New York are considering the possibility that a serial killer may have dumped the four bodies along a quarter-mile stretch of road not far from Long Island's Jones Beach. The site is about 15 miles from where her daughter went missing.

The bodies were systematically dumped, perhaps over a period of 18 months or longer, police say.

Homicide detectives on a freezing December day were scrambling to learn the identities of the victims. The first of the decomposed corpses was found Saturday by an officer and his cadaver dog. Three more were found two days later.

"We're looking at that - that we could have a serial killer," Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer told reporters at a briefing before officers and the cadaver dog resumed searching in and around the Ocean Parkway for possibly more victims. "I don't think its a coincidence that four bodies ended up in this area."

Tuesday's search on a highway about 45 miles east of New York City ended without any additional discoveries, but police intend to press on with an investigation, including working with neighboring police agencies and asking the FBI and the New York City medical examiner's office for help in identifying the victims.

Police found the decomposed remains just feet from the roadway during an ongoing search for a missing prostitute last known to be headed to nearby Fire Island. Authorities say all four of the bodies are female. Dormer also said there is no indication yet that either of the female victims is the 24-year-old from Jersey City, N.J., who was reported missing May 1.

Police believe the four were killed elsewhere and then brought to the site, a narrow strip of land that divides the Great South Bay from the Atlantic Ocean. The four-lane parkway runs through the middle, connecting Jones Beach State Park with several state and town-run beaches to its east.

Dormer said the search of the vast, remote area could take days or longer.

The discovery drew comparisons to a 4-year-old New Jersey case in which four prostitutes' bodies were found in a drainage ditch in Egg Harbor Township, just outside Atlantic City and about a mile from the beach. Those killings remain unsolved.

Atlantic County Prosecutor Theodore Housel said Tuesday that Atlantic County detectives were still investigating the bodies found in November 2006 and had spoken with authorities in New York about their case.

"We have been in contact with authorities in Suffolk County, New York," he said. "It would not be fair for us to comment on their investigation."

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