Suffolk Police to Release New Photos of Belt in Gilgo Beach Case

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart holds up a photo of initials on a belt found at a Gilgo Beach crime scene. (Long Island Press photo)

Suffolk County police plan to release additional photos of a belt recovered in the unsolved Gilgo Beach murder investigation, authorities announced a week before the 10-year anniversary of the case.

Police said the photos will be released at gilgonews.com, the website the department launched in January as a platform for background information and updates on the case, but did not say exactly when the new photos would be released.

“We are hopeful this photo will bring someone forward with information about its origin,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart has said of the first photo of the belt released earlier this year.

Police previously disclosed the evidence — the first new investigatory detail the department shared since the remains were found along Ocean Parkway in 2010 an ’11 — in January on the same day that Netflix released a trailer for Lost Girls, a movie about the case. The same day, police also launched their new website and announced they were approved to use genetic genealogy to put names to unidentified victims — a development that led to the identification of victim Valerie Mack in May.

The new evidence was a black leather belt embossed with the half-inch initials “HM” or “WH” in light blue lettering found at an unspecified victim’s dump site, police said. Investigators believe the belt was handled by the killer and didn’t belong to any of the victims, but they declined to release the belt size.

Police were searching for Shannan Gilbert, a New Jersey woman reported missing in May 2010 from Oak Beach, when they discovered 10 sets of human remains—half of whom were also identified as escorts — along Ocean Parkway between December 2010 and April 2011. Gilbert was later found dead, but police and medical examiners have suggested she may have drowned in a marsh — although her family insists she was murdered.

Dec. 11 is the anniversary police finding victim Melissa Barthelemy, one of four young women found nearby one another in Gilgo Beach — a discovery that marked the first time Suffolk police confirmed they are looking for a serial killer since dubbed the Long Island Serial Killer.

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