A member of the Suffolk County police search team looks through a brush area for remains of bodies slain by a possible serial killer near the beach area of Oak Beach, New York, April 7, 2011.
NEW YORK - Suffolk County Police say that instead of multiple killers, they believe the Gilgo Beach murders are the work of one serial killer.
"The theory is now that we're dealing with one serial killer," Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer said.
Nearly a year to the day since the first gruesome discovery along the Ocean Parkway, Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer tells Eyewitness News the theories of the complicated case have changed.
Namely, that the 10 bodies dumped there, from 1996 to 2010, were all the victims of just one person.
"Serial killers evolve. They change their MO's. They don't necessarily do the same thing all the time. What's common here is the dumping ground, and the people who are victims. Sex workers," Dormer said.
All but one of them, are believed to be prostitutes, dumped in a variety of ways over the past 15 years.
The first four to be found were the last to be killed, uncovered last December on this windswept stretch of sand, all of them, had advertised as escorts on Craigslist before they vanished.
And all, reportedly wrapped in burlap before they were dumped on the side of the road.
The spring thaw yielded six more bodies, some of them dismembered more than a decade ago.
Investigators thought they might have uncovered the work of separate killers.
But now, Dormer says that theory has changed.
"Our theory is the serial killer is working alone. The girls that he contacted with met him alone," Dormer said.
Which brings us to the other development, involving another Craigslist escort named Shannan Gilbert.
It was the search for Gilbert that yielded these discoveries in the first place.
She'd disappeared the previous May after meeting a client in nearby Oak Beach.
But they never matched her against any of the remains.
And now, they think her case is completely unrelated to the other ten.
"Our theory is that this is a coincidence. She went missing in Oak Beach. And this has nothing to do with the serial killer," Dormer said.
For starters, Gilbert had a driver take her to her client's house, the other girls came alone.
Gilbert was seen running away into the reeds.
The other girls never got away.
And if Gilbert was murdered and dumped, police say her body just isn't here.
Police say that's also inconsistent with the rituals of this killer.
So what happened to Shannan Gilbert?
Authorities admit that they have no idea.
"That's a mystery. It certainly is we have 10 bodies now. 10 bodies and no Shannan Gilbert. And it's a mystery," Dormer said.