BABYLON, N.Y. (AP) — Along a desolate, wind-swept stretch of highway that on sunny summer days trasports thousands to the white sands of Long Island's Jones Beach, four bodies were systematically dumped, perhaps over a period of 18 months or longer, police say.
Homicide detectives on a freezing December day were scrambling to learn the identities of the victims. The first of the decomposed corpses was found Saturday by an officer and his cadaver dog. Three more, all scattered within a quarter-mile, were found two days later.
Now, authorities want to apprehend a possible serial killer.
"We're looking at that — that we could have a serial killer," Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer told reporters at a briefing before officers and the cadaver dog resumed searching in and around the Ocean Parkway for possibly more victims. "I don't think its a coincidence that four bodies ended up in this area."
Tuesday's search on a highway about 45 miles east of New York City ended without any additional discoveries, but police intend to press on with an investigation, including working with neighboring police agencies and asking the FBI and the New York City medical examiner's office for help in identifying the victims.
Police found the decomposed remains just feet from the roadway during an ongoing search for a missing prostitute last known to be headed to nearby Fire Island. At least two of the bodies are female, but authorities say they haven't determined the gender of the other two. Dormer also said there is no indication yet that either of the female victims is the 24-year-old from Jersey City, N.J., who was reported missing May 1.
Suffolk County detectives also have been searching for a Maine woman who worked as an escort and was last seen in June at a hotel n Hauppauge, N.Y., where she went with her boyfriend.
Police 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.
Dormer said the search of the vast, remote area could take days or longer.
The discovery drew comparisons to a 4-year-old New Jersey case in which four prostitutes' bodies were found in a drainage ditch in Egg Harbor Township, just outside Atlantic City and about a mile from the beach. Those killings remain unsolved.
Atlantic County Prosecutor Theodore Housel said Tuesday that Atlantic County detectives were still investigating the bodies found in November 2006 and had spoken with authorities in New York about their case.
"We have been in contact with authorities in Suffolk County, New York," he said. "It would not be fair for us to comment on their investigation."
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