The New Jersey woman whose disappearance from Oak Beach led to the discovery of a serial killer’s dumping ground will finally be laid to rest—nearly five years after she went missing.
Services for Shannan Gilbert will be held this week on Long Island, according to her family’s attorney, John Ray, of Miller Place-based Ray, Mitev & Associates. In December, the family had sought donations to pay for the burial and to rent a funeral home where an independent medical examiner could perform a second autopsy. But results of the second exam were not released.
“Finally, we were able to raise money and convince funeral directors to donate services so that Shannan could be examined and buried,” Ray said. “Her remains have stayed in the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s office until now because the Suffolk Medical Examiner refused to allow Dr. Michael Baden, a renowned independent medical examiner, to examine Shannan’s remains.”
Police were searching for Gilbert—a sex worker who was reported missing on May 1, 2010—when they discovered 10 sets of human remains along Ocean Parkway in December of that year. She was last seen fleeing the Oak Beach home of her last client, Joseph Brewer, who police have said is not a suspect in the deaths.
The Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s office had only said that the cause of death is “undetermined” for Gilbert. Police have also said they suspect Gilbert—whose body was found in a marsh less than a mile from Brewer’s home—was not a victim of foul play. But Gilbert’s family believes that Shannan was killed by the same person behind the other murders, whose victims include other online escorts.
Ray is representing Gilbert’s mother, Mari, in a lawsuit against Dr. Peter Hackett, who allegedly told her that he took Shannan in and drugged her before she went missing. Hackett later denied those claims in media interviews. Hackett, who has since moved to Florida, is also not a suspect in the deaths, police have said.
Services for Gilbert will be held 11 a.m. Thursday at Amityville Cemetery, 55 Harrison Ave, in Amityville.