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New challenges in identifying LI beach remains

May 11, 2011 3:24:08 AM PDT
There are new details surrounding the ten sets of human remains found on Long Island's south shore.

According to Newsday, investigators are facing a huge hurdle in their effort to identify the victims.

Law enforcement and forensic experts say that because the remains were dumped on the beach, they were more exposed to elements that degrade DNA.

Those elements include salty air, ultraviolet light, heat and humidity.

Five victims have been identified, and there are at least four others waiting to be ID'd.

On Monday, Spota announced that the human remains discovered along Ocean Parkway beaches are from eight victims, which are being divided into separate cases.

The four women from the original case have been identified as prostitutes murdered by a serial killer. Maureen Brainard-Barnes, who was last seen on July 9, 2007, was murdered first. Melissa Barthelemy was next, having disappeared almost exactly two years later in 2009. Megan Waterman vanished on June 6 of last year, and Amber Lynn Costello disappeared in early September of 2010.

The dismembered remains of two more women have been found since police began scouring the brambles along Gilgo Beach in April.

One has now been identified as 20-year-old prostitute Jessica Taylor. Most of her body was found in Manorville in 2003. Remains of the other woman were also found in Manorville in 2000.

Police say these two murders are connected to each other, but not linked to the first four.

The next victim is an unidentified baby girl, between 1 and 2 years old. Investigators say there are no signs of trauma, but homicide has not been ruled out.

"What is now very clear is that the area in and around Gilgo Beach has been used to discard human remains for some period of time," Spota said.

The chilling new details have people in the beachfront community on edge.

"Maybe it is somebody who could live in this area," one resident said. "You really have to be a little more careful."

Two other victims, found in Nassau County, remain unidentified. Jersey City prostitute Shannan Gilbert, whose disappearance sparked the initial search, still has not been found.

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