Shannan Gilbert, 24, who worked as an escort, was last seen last spring in Oak Beach, New York near where the latest remains were discovered, after apparently meeting a client she had booked through Craigslist.
The bodies of four other prostitutes, all of whom advertised their services on Craigslist and were in their 20s, were found along the same highway by police searching for Gilbert in December.
A fifth body was located last week about a mile from where the first four were found and police said Monday they uncovered the remains of three more people. Police have not identified any of the most recent victims and have not definitively linked them to the remains found in December.
Detectives suspect a serial killer but so far have no suspects.
The four dead prostitutes were found amid a 4-foot-tall tangle of sea grass punctuated by scrubby pine trees. Authorities have identified them as Amber Lynn Costello, 27, originally of Wilmington, N.C.; Megan Waterman, 22, of Scarborough, Maine; Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 28, of Norwich, Conn.; and Melissa Barthelemy, 24, of Buffalo, N.Y.
Although officers have searched the area several times since December, they intensified a search of the 7.5-mile area on Monday. After searching almost exclusively on the north side of Ocean Parkway, which leads to the popular Jones Beach, police academy cadets, K-9 units and other investigators moved to the south side of the roadway on Tuesday, searching a wide swath of sandy beach down to the ocean.
Although police were able to quickly rule out Gilbert as a victim because of forensic evidence they had on file in her case, identifying the four recently found bodies could take weeks or longer, officials have said. The New York City medical examiner's office is assisting Suffolk County officials with their investigation.
Copyright 2015 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
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