Suffolk County police must release a recording of the 911 call that Shannan Gilbert, a key figure in the Gilgo Beach serial murder case, made a decade ago this month, a New York State appeals court panel ruled Wednesday.
The state Apellate Division, Second Judicial Department in Brooklyn affirmed a 2018 Suffolk County Supreme Court ruling that previously ordered police to release the tape to Gilbert’s family. It was not immediately clear if the county planned to appeal the ruling to the state’s highest court, the sate Court of Appeals.
“We agree with the Supreme Court’s determination that the SCPD’s conclusory assertions that disclosure of the 911 recordings would interfere with an ongoing homicide investigation more than eight years after Shannan’s death did not outweigh the plaintiffs’ interest in disclosure of material which was relevant to the plaintiffs’ action,” Judges Ruth Balkin, John Leventhal, Sheri Roman, and Francesca Connolly jointly wrote in their decision.
Gilbert made the 911 call from Oak Beach on May 1, 2010. Police were searching for her when they found the remains of four women in nearby Gilgo Beach in December of that year and six more sets of remains also along Ocean Parkway the following spring.
Gilbert’s remains were found in a marsh in Oak Beach in December 2011. The county medical examiner’s office deemed her cause of death “inconclusive.” Police suggested at the time that she ran into the marsh and drowned, but her family maintains that she was slain. Current police leaders have declined to speculate on whether they believe Gilbert was killed or died accidentally, but say her case remains open.
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