How corruption in the Suffolk County Police Department weighed on the investigation into the unsolved Gilgo Beach serial murders will be the focus of a TV special and podcast coming soon to Investigation Discovery.
Investigative journalists Billy Jensen, who helped revive the Long Island Press in 2003, and Alexis Linkletter, a true crime documentary producer from Nissequogue, teamed up on a seven-part podcast dubbed Unraveled: Long Island Serial Killer, to be released on Jan. 27, followed by a two-part TV special scheduled to air on Memorial Day.
“We’re investigating the investigation,” Jensen said. “We’re not starting with Shannan Gilbert, as everybody does. We’re starting with the police department.”
ID says the duo will expose the untold story of why the case remains unsolved. They promise new revelations stemming from Christopher Loeb, the man who former Suffolk Police Chief James Burke was convicted of beating while Loeb was handcuffed in a police station.
“That’s sort of the thread we pulled on to let us look into Burke’s influence over the Long Island Serial Killer investigation,” Linkletter said. “Once he was promoted, resources that were being put toward solving the case were kind of pulled and put elsewhere.”
Jensen noted Burke severed the department’s ties with the Federal Bureau of Investigations, which initially worked with Suffolk Homicide Squad detectives after police found 10 sets of human remains along Ocean Parkway in 2010 and ’11 while searching for Gilbert. The Press first reported that Suffolk police quit the FBI’s Long Island Gang Task Force in 2012. The department has since rejoined the task force, re-partnered with the FBI on the Gilgo case, and current Suffolk Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart is a former FBI agent.
“The idea that if you’re the chief of police of police and you have this gigantic serial killer investigation, the biggest case in front of you, and you kick out the most sophisticated law enforcement detective agency that’s ever been, you kick out the FBI, and says, ‘we don’t want your help,’ you start looking at why would somebody do that?” Jensen said. “You start looking at why would somebody do that?”
Linkletter, who helped create Unmasking a Killer for CNN and Deadly Recall for Investigation Discovery, said Burke’s motivation for the move remains a mystery.
“The very best case scenario is that he sabotaged the investigation to cover up his own illicit behavior, whether that’s indulging in sex workers or drug use,” she said. “That’s really the best case scenario, which is not good.”
Jensen, who helped finish Michelle McNamara’s No. 1 New York Times bestselling book, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark about the hunt for the Golden State Killer and penned Chase Darkness with Me: How One True Crime Writer Started Solving Murders, found the department’s tightlipped nature stood out the most.
He said, “I’ve never worked a story where the law enforcement and the people in power were as cagey as the potential suspects.”
Dec. 11 marks the 10th anniversary of the case. Listen to the trailer for the podcast here:
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