The Gilgo Four dump site
Crime Scene Location in Gilgo Beach, New York
This is the location where the Long Island serial killer (LISK) dumped the remains of ten of his victims.
It is situated on Ocean Parkway near Gilgo Beach on Jones Beach Island, New York.
On May 1st, 2010, a sex worker named Shannan Gilbert disappeared after inexplicably running away from a client's house in Oak Beach.
When a month passed and there was still no trace of the missing woman, canine police officer John Mallia and his cadaver dog "Blue" were tasked with finding her remains.
For more than six months, the pair persistently searched through fields, swamps, and overgrown terrain.
After failing to find Gilbert, Mallia decided to "branch out" and head further west along Jones Beach Island.
On December 11th, 2010, he was walking along this stretch of Ocean Parkway when Blue suddenly picked up a scent.
At that point, the dog led him into the thick brambles by the side of the road, where he uncovered a skeleton that was wrapped in decaying burlap.
Following the discovery, a recovery team was called in to comb the area for evidence. During their investigation of the site, they discovered the remains of three more victims.
Three of the four women had been wrapped in duck-blind camouflage burlap. Due to their close proximity to one another and the manner in which their bodies had been disposed of, the authorities quickly realized that they were dealing with a serial killer.
The women, who have since become known as the Gilgo Four, were all sex workers who had previously advertised their services on Craiglist and Backpage.
In the months that followed, the police broadened their search of the area and discovered six more victims at multiple sites along Ocean Parkway.
Once the dust had settled, it became apparent that an unidentified killer had been using the area around Gilgo Beach as a dumping ground since 1996.
Further information is available in the "Photos" section below.
Gilgo Beach crime scene location
Below, you will find the address and the GPS coordinates for this location.
Ocean Parkway, Gilgo Beach, New York, NY 11702, USA
To view directions on how to get there, you can use the Google Maps shortcut below:
The latitude and longitude coordinates for the site are:
The coordinates above will lead you to the location where police discovered the remains of the Gilgo Four. The locations of the other dump sites are listed below.
Details about the general area
Jones Beach Island is one of the outer barrier islands on the southern coast of Long Island. It lies between Long Beach and Fire Island.
Photos of the site and other related images.
Gilgo Beach map
This aerial map of the area around Gilgo Beach pinpoints the six dump sites that were discovered along Ocean Parkway.
His decision to dump the remains next to the highway is consistent with the behavior of other killers.
Carrying human remains across an uneven terrain that contains thick vegetation would be physically taxing. Furthermore, the perpetrator will typically try to minimize the amount of time that he spends at the dump site. The longer he stays, the more likely it is that a passerby will spot him or his vehicle.
It is probable that the Long Island serial killer lives relatively close to this location. Either that, or he has visited the area on multiple occasions.
Serial killers typically operate within "comfort zones", which are places that they feel somewhat familiar with.
From their perspective, using an unfamiliar area to dump human remains is risky because it introduces far too many unknown variables.
The Gilgo Four
The term "Gilgo Four" refers to four women who went missing between 2007 and 2010. They were nicknamed as such due to their proximity to each other and Gilgo Beach, which is on the opposite side of Ocean Parkway.
All of the victims had been asphyxiated. There were also signs that they had been kept for a while and tortured.
Although these were the first victims to be found, they were not the first to go missing. In fact, this was his "freshest" site, so to speak.
One of the victims, Amber Lynn Costello, went missing in September 2010, which was only two months before Officer Mallia uncovered the first skeleton.
This means that the killer had been using the site right up until its discovery.
His decision to dump the remains of four victims in the exact same area seems to be a deviation from his earlier behavior.
Originally, he kept his dump sites apart, as it lowered the chances of multiple victims being found at the same time.
However, in the late 2000s, he had essentially run out of space and couldn't progress further west without increasing his exposure (the median strip narrows).
The first victim to be placed at this site was 25-year-old Maureen Brainard-Barnes, who disappeared on July 9th, 2007 after meeting a client outside of her motel in Manhattan.
The second victim to be dumped here was 24-year-old Craigslist escort Melissa Barthelemy, who was last seen on July 10th, 2009. In the weeks following Barthelemy's disappearance, an unidentified man used her cellphone to make a series of taunting calls to her younger sister, Amanda. In one of these calls, the man stated that Barthelemy was dead and that he was going to "watch her rot."
All of these phone calls were intentionally short and made from crowded areas in Manhattan.
On April 4th, 2011, a police recovery team discovered the skeletal remains of an unidentified Asian male at a site that was roughly 750 yards east of the Gilgo Four.
The authorities believe that "Asian Male John Doe" died between 2001 and 2006.
There is also speculation that he may have been transgender, as he was found wearing women's clothes.
On March 29th, 2011, investigators discovered a skull and two hands in this area off Ocean Parkway. The killer had deposited the remains about 1,100 yards east of the site where the "Asian Male" was found.
DNA tests proved that the remains belonged to a sex worker named Jessica Taylor, whose torso was found at the end of an access road in Manorville in July 2003.
In Taylor's case, it seems as though LISK went to great lengths to try and conceal her identity. Not only did he dismember her body and dump her remains in two separate places, he also attempted to remove a tattoo from her torso.
Valerie Mack and Baby Doe
On April 4th, 2011, the police discovered the partial remains of 20-year-old Valerie Mack and the skeleton of a female toddler at this site near Overlook Beach.
The area in question is about a mile and a half east of the location where LISK tossed Taylor's skull into the thicket.
Mack and the toddler were found 250 feet apart. However, DNA testing confirmed that they were not related to each other.
Although Mack's skull, hands, and right foot were discovered at this site in 2011, her torso had already been found in a wooded area in Manorville eleven years prior.
The similarities between the cases of Mack and Taylor are striking. LISK dismembered the two women in the early 2000s and dumped their torsos near Halsey Manor Road in Manorville. He then tossed their skulls and hands into the bushes on the northern side of Ocean Parkway.
This was done to hinder their identification and impede the investigation into their murders.
If investigators do not know a victim's name, they cannot trace their last known whereabouts or interview potential witnesses.
In another twist, DNA testing revealed that the toddler belonged to an unidentified LISK victim called Peaches, whose torso was unceremoniously thrown into a wooded area in Hempstead Lake State Park in June 1997.
Karen Vergata (Fire Island Jane Doe)
On April 11th, 2011, the authorities discovered the skull of an unidentified woman at this site near Tobay Beach, roughly 3.5 miles west of the Gilgo Four.
DNA tests determined that it belonged to a woman whose legs had washed ashore on Fire Island in 1996.
The victim remained unidentified for 26 years, during which she was nicknamed Fire Island Jane Doe (FIJD). In October 2022, the FBI identified her as 34-year-old Karen Vergata.
However, her name wasn't released to the public until August 2023.
The Long Island serial killer dumped his victims' remains in the dense bushes and trees that run along the northern side of Ocean Parkway.
Because the victims were discovered in December 2010, most photographs of the site show bare brambles and branches.
However, LISK operated during the warmer months. As a result, the roadside thicket on Gilgo Beach would have looked much greener and "thicker" while he was using it (similar to the image above).
This would have undoubtedly helped conceal his victims' remains.
This section of the road along Ocean Parkway provided him with the perfect dumping ground.
The straight 1.5-mile stretch provided him with full visibility of oncoming traffic. It is also one-way, heading from east to west.
If he dumped his victims' remains at night, then there was almost no chance of another vehicle creeping up on him.
Judging by Google Street View, documentaries, and comments from locals, this area is pretty desolate, especially after dark.
It is likely that LISK checked his rear-view mirror for headlights before pulling over to the side. If there were no lights in the distance, then he could drop off his victim and leave without having to rush.
Judging by Google Maps, he had at least 60 seconds to make the drop and then leave before another motorist got too close for comfort. If another vehicle was too close behind, then it would have taken him less than 10 minutes to circle around and try again.
While dumping the Gilgo Four, it seems as though he deliberately stuck to the section of Ocean Parkway where the median strip between the two lanes is at its widest.
There was a 50-meter (55-yard) distance between him and motorists traveling in the opposite direction. The strip also contained trees and shrubbery.
If his headlights were off, it would have been extremely difficult to see him or his vehicle, as there were no streetlights in the area.
The median strip narrows to 6 meters if you drive slightly west of this location. This may explain why he decided to place the Gilgo Four in one area. If he had continued any further, he would have been exposing himself to oncoming traffic.
If you compare the locations with the dates that the victims went missing, a pattern seems to emerge.
Following the murder of Peaches and Baby Doe, he started on the eastern side of the island and then worked his way west, spacing his victims out along the way.
However, by the late 2000s, he was hesitant to continue any further. The narrowing of the median strip and the presence of houses left him with no other option but to stick with the one stretch of road that provided him with privacy.
This "pattern" is also interesting because it suggests that the unidentified victim, "Asian Male", may have gone missing between 2004 and 2006 (the police believe that he was murdered at some point between 2000 and 2005).
From what we know, there is only one example of the Long Island serial killer striking more than once in the same year (Waterman and Costello in 2010, at the very end of his spree).
If this east-to-west pattern isn't a coincidence and he was spacing out his dump sites, then it would mean that "Asian Male" disappeared at some point between the murders of Jessica Taylor (2003) and Maureen Brainard-Barnes (2007).
Note that there probably weren't any symbolic reasons for this. Instead, it is likely that he was just trying to prevent all of his victims from being found at the same time.
However, by 2007, he had run out of options. It is also possible that he was becoming more complacent.
LISK couldn't progress further west along Ocean Parkway
This west-facing aerial image illustrates why the killer was hesitant to progress further west.
As you can see, the median strip on Ocean Parkway narrows. This would have exposed him to traffic heading eastward. There were also a number of residential properties up ahead.
The thicket along Ocean Parkway is filled with brambles and poison ivy.
For this reason, a former FBI profiler opined that the Long Island serial killer may have sought medical treatment for poison ivy.
However, people have different reactions to the plant. For example, 15–25% of the population is resistant to any reaction, while others may experience only mild symptoms.
Three of the Gilgo Four victims had been wrapped in duck-blind camouflage burlap. Hunters use this material to conceal their positions from ducks, pheasants, geese, and other birds.
In December 2020, former SCPD Chief of Detectives Dominick Varrone told CBS This Morning that the killer may have chosen this brown, porous material to camouflage his victims' remains among the bushes and promote decay.
The Long Island serial killer used a burner phone
The authorities believe that the Long Island serial killer was a family man who picked up many sex workers over the years.
However, he only struck when the circumstances were right. Otherwise, he used their services like a regular client.
Notably, LISK used a burner phone to call the Gilgo Four.
During the mid-to-late 2000s, these phones were extremely popular among married men who regularly contacted sex workers on websites such as Craigslist.
By using a cheap, prepaid burner, they could hide their "hobby" from their significant other.
Judging by forum discussions from the time, many of these men were worried that an escort might text them while they were in the presence of their wife or girlfriend.
These fears were not unfounded, as a number of working girls used to advertise their availability by sending out a "broadcast" text message to all of their recent contacts.
As you can imagine, burner phones were particularly popular among men who had been caught cheating in the past. For them, there was always a good chance that their significant other would look through their call logs, check their text messages, and scrutinize the numbers listed on their phone bill.
Typically, these men would purchase these prepaid, push-button phones at RadioShack or some other department store. Although they were asked to register a name and address, this process did not require any proof of identification.
Following the purchase, they would typically hide their new "toy" somewhere and only turn it on whenever they needed to contact an escort.
When people learn that the Long Island serial killer contacted some of the victims with a burner phone, they often envision him as some kind of tech-savvy predator with a fancy gadget.
However, it seems far more likely that he originally started using a prepaid burner to hide his extramarital activities from his wife.
There is more than one location associated with this entry. To view all of these places on the same map, you can use the following feature:
This location belongs to the following categories:Crime ScenesSerial KillersLong Island Serial Killer LocationsUnsolved Cases
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