Suffolk County police released new information Thursday about what four of the Gilgo Beach serial murder victims were doing before they were killed, as investigators seek new leads in the unsolved investigation.
The newly released details include some previously undisclosed details about the victims’ personal lives and last known whereabouts, some of which is confirmation of previous news reports on the case.
“We believe now is the right time to disseminate this previously unreleased information in hopes of eliciting tips from the public and providing greater transparency about the victims,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney K. Harrison said in a statement. “Our hope is that the public will review this information and come forward with any additional tips about the victims or a potential suspect or suspects.”
Between 2010 and 2011, police found 10 sets of human remains along Ocean Parkway between December of 2010 and April of 2011 while searching for Shannan Gilbert, a New Jersey woman who was reported missing from Oak Beach, where she was later found dead. The victims were mostly sex workers, although four remain unidentified. They are thought to have been killed over a period of nearly 20 years.
The new details come a month after police released previously unseen surveillance camera footage of one of the victims, Megan Waterman, leaving the Holiday Inn Express on Express Drive South in Hauppauge.
Waterman, a Scarborough, Maine resident who was 22 years old when she was last seen on June 6, 2010, was a sex worker who advertised on Craigslist and Backpage under the aliases Lexxy and Sexy Lexi. Other local hotels she stayed at included the Extended Stay America in Bethpage. She was last seen by her family boarding a New York-bound Concord Trailways bus in Maine, possibly with her pimp, who was in Brooklyn at the time of her disappearance. She called to tell him she was going to a convenience store near the hotel, police said. Her pimp, who was sentenced to three years in federal prison after being convicted of trafficking, is not believed to be involved in her death.
Waterman is believed to be the third of what have become the Gilgo Four, the term used for the four women found dead a quarter mile apart on the side of Ocean Parkway, before the other remains were found. Maureen Brainard-Barnes is believed to be the first of the four.
Brainard-Barnes was a 25-year-old Norwich, Conn. resident when she was reported missing after she is believed to have taken an Amtrak train from New London to Grand Central Terminal on July 6, 2007. While in Manhattan, she stayed at the Super 8 Motel on West 46th Street, where she was working as a sex worker, advertising on Craigslist, Backpage, and other websites using the names Juliana or Marie, police said. She was known to stay at The Red Roof Inn on West 32nd Street, the Carter Hotel on West 43rd St., and the Manhattan Hotel on 8th Avenue.
Police said that she occasionally traveled with another woman who worked out of a different hotel room and they both may have used a man, who they called their cousin, who provided protection. Her friend returned home early on the weekend she went missing, police said. She was last heard from on July 9, 2007 at 11:43 p.m. when she called a friend in Connecticut to say she would be going to meet someone outside of the motel on an “out-call.” She is the first of the Gilgo Four.
The second was Melissa Barthelemy, 24, who was last seen at her apartment in the Bronx on July 12, 2009. She was a sex worker who advertised on Adult Friend Finder as well as other sites using the aliases Chloe and VerySexyChloe. She had tattoos of the words “Blaze” and “Focus” on her back, and letters on her chest. She was also known to meet clients at bars, restaurants, and hotels on the West Side of Manhattan, police said.
On the night she was last seen, she told a friend she was going to see a man and would be back in the morning, but offered no other details, according to investigators. Her cellphone records show she traveled from the Bronx to Manhattan, most likely via taxi, police said.
Records showed cell phone activity in Manhattan, Freeport, Massapequa, and Lindenhurst and motels in and near these neighborhoods were investigated, authorities revealed. The killer later called her sister, making calls near the Port Authority Bus Terminal and Penn Station in Manhattan. Police said the areas were “thoroughly canvassed immediately following the calls,” but no leads were developed due to the large amount of pedestrian traffic in those areas.
The fourth of the Gilgo Four was Amber Lynn Costello, a 27-year-old woman addicted to heroin and living in West Babylon with three other addicts when she was reported missing. She was a sex worker who advertised on Craigslist and Backpage under the names Carolina or Mia, police said. She had tattoos of “Kaos” on her neck, a butterfly on her lower back, and the word “Margeret” on her leg, police said.
Costello had moved to New York from Clearwater Florida and had completed a 28-day drug rehab, but had relapsed not long before her disappearance, police revealed. She and her roommates, including another woman who was a sex worker, shared a cell phone. Costello did both “in-calls” at her home, as well as “out-calls.” Her two male roommates often scammed in-call clients by telling them Costello was their girlfriend, causing them to flee after they paid, police said. She was last seen leaving her residence on foot on Sept. 2, 2010 to meet a client who was picking her up at her house, but she did not have her cell phone with her at the time and she was never reported missing.
Suffolk County Crime Stoppers is offering a $50,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in this case. Individuals can anonymously submit information online to Crime Stoppers by visiting P3Tips.com, calling 1-800-220-TIPS or visit gilgonews.com to submit tips online.
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