- "It's a slow, methodical process," a police official says
- Ten sets of remains have been recovered, including one adult male and a female toddler
- Police have evaluated more than 1,200 tips
- DNA links some remains to other remains found years ago
With a police official saying, "This is not a television show where everything is solved in an hour," New York authorities Tuesday released details, evidence and two composite sketches related to 10 sets of human remains found along a remote stretch of Long Island beach in recent months.
"We're making progress. It's a slow, methodical process," Suffolk County, New York, Police Commissioner Richard Dormer said of the investigation that began in December when the search for a missing woman turned up several bodies that apparently had been dumped by a killer or killers.
Ten sets of remains have been recovered, with five identified so far. All five were described by authorities as prostitutes.
At a news conference at police headquarters in Yaphank, Dormer revealed evidence linked to the victims, who include an unidentified adult male and an unidentified female toddler, and said police have already evaluated more than 1,200 tips.
"This is not a television show where everything is solved in an hour. This takes painstaking hours of detective work, forensic work. We're doing that as we speak, and we will continue that investigation and bring it to a successful conclusion," Dormer said.
Sketches of what two victims might have looked like -- the lone male, described as Asian and between 17 and 23 years old when he died; and a female labeled Jane Doe No. 6, described as Caucasian, about 5-feet-2 inches tall and between 18 and 35 years old -- were presented in hopes that someone might recognize the likenesses.
Dormer added that the case of Jane Doe No. 6 goes back to 2000, when a torso was found near the Suffolk County town of Manorville. DNA linked the torso to the victim's head, hands and right foot, which were all found on April 4 more than 40 miles from the location of the torso 11 years earlier. Dormer said the woman likely would have last been seen alive in late summer or early fall 2000, and that the woman may have been working as a prostitute in New York City.
The toddler's remains were found earlier this year close to the location of Jane Doe No. 6 but authorities say there was no connection between the two. In fact, DNA linked the toddler, who was between 16 months and 32 months of age, to another unidentified female victim whose remains were found seven miles away in April. Police said it was likely that the two were mother and child.
The male victim was 5-feet-6-inches and was missing both the top and bottom molars and one of his top front teeth. Investigators determined that he was wearing women's' clothes when he died between five and 10 years ago, Dormer said.
DNA also connected some remains found by police in adjacent Nassau County police on April 11 of this year to remains discovered on Fire Island in Suffolk County in 1996, Dormer said.
Pictures of jewelry belonging to some of the victims were displayed at the news conference, with Dormer saying a rope necklace and hoop earrings likely belonged to the toddler, whose remains were found with bracelets that may have belonged to the person who authorities say was likely the toddler's mother. One of the bracelets was decorated with x's and o's with stones resembling diamonds. The other was a snake chain.
Dormer said police hope the sketches and belongings will trigger recognition, and he said police are reaching out to escort businesses with hopes that someone may come forward with helpful information.
FBI, New York State Police, and Nassau County police are continuing to work with Suffolk County police, and the homicide task force is continuing to investigate the disappearance of Shannan Gilbert, who has been missing since December 2010 and whose disappearance triggered the search that uncovered other sets of remains.