BABYLON, N.Y. - The FBI is offering its resources to assist New York homicide investigators chasing a possible serial killer after four women's bodies were found dumped alongside a remote beach highway.
Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer said in a brief statement that investigators from his department met with officials from the FBI's New York office Wednesday. The agents offered any assistance they could provide, but an FBI spokesman said it was not immediately clear what services Long Island police would require. Dormer had previously said the FBI could be helpful in identifying the victims.
The meeting came as investigators were looking into the disappearance of two out-of-state women working as prostitutes last seen on Long Island. One of the women, a 24-year-old from New Jersey, was last seen in the area where the bodies were found, while the second, a 22-year-old from Maine, was reported missing from a hotel about 15 miles away.
None of the bodies have been identified.
Atlantic County officials have not commented on possible connections to the unsolved killings of four women whose bodies were found in 2006 in a ravine behind the Golden Key Motel in Egg Harbor Township, a stretch notorious for prostitution and drugs.
Each woman was positioned with her head pointing toward the Atlantic City skyline, two miles east. All but one of the women had a high concentration of drugs in her system, autopsies showed.
In a statement Tuesday, Atlantic County Prosecutor Ted Housel said his office had been in contact with Suffolk County authorities, and Housel's office continues to investigate the 2006 murders. He declined to comment on the Suffolk investigation.
James Leonard, an attorney for Terry Oleson, a handyman who came under scrutiny after his arrest on unrelated charges but was never implicated in the killings, released a statement reasserting Oleson's innocence, the New York Times reported.
"We are hopeful that this incident will shed some light on what happened here in Atlantic City four years ago, as the similarities appear to be striking," Leonard said. "We have maintained all along that Terry Oleson had nothing to do with the deaths of the four women that were murdered in West Atlantic City, and he has zero connection to the case that is presently unfolding in Long Island."
In Suffolk, police discovered the first body Saturday and the other three on Monday while following up on a missing persons report for the New Jersey woman. The woman, identified by Jersey City, N.J., police as Shannon Gilbert, had arranged to meet a client May 1 on nearby Fire Island, about three miles from where the bodies were discovered.
Megan Waterman, of Scarborough, Maine, advertised her escort services on Craigslist and was last seen in June at a Hauppauge, N.Y., hotel where she went with her boyfriend. The hotel is about 15 miles from where the bodies were found. Scarborough Police Chief Robert Moulton said detectives in New York have been working with his department for months on Waterman's disappearance.
A Scarborough detective was obtaining DNA samples Wednesday from Waterman's family to send to New York for possible identification.
"There's definitely a possibility, but we're on hold at this point," Moulton said of the possibility that one of the victims was Waterman.
The four bodies were systematically dumped, perhaps over a period of 18 months or longer, along a desolate, wind-swept stretch of highway east of Jones Beach State Park on Long Island's south shore, police said. Because the bodies were each located just off the highway and within a quarter mile of each other, police suspect the deaths are connected.
"We're looking at that - that we could have a serial killer," Dormer told reporters Tuesday. "I don't think it's a coincidence that four bodies ended up in this area."
Police were not searching along the highway, about 45 miles east of Manhattan, on Wednesday, but a spokeswoman said it was likely investigators would return there in the coming days.
Detectives say they believe the four were killed elsewhere and then brought to the site, a narrow strip of land that divides the Great South Bay from the Atlantic Ocean. The four-lane parkway runs through the middle, connecting Jones Beach State Park with several state and town-run beaches to its east.