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'We Will Not Rest': New Police Commissioner Pledges To Solve Long Island Serial Killer Case, Release 911 Calls

Rodney Harrison, the new police commissioner for Suffolk County, stated that there are “some great leads that are putting us in a great place to solve" the Long Island Serial Killer case.

By Gina Tron
Lisk Victims Pd

The new police commissioner for New York's Suffolk County is pledging to crack the Long Island Serial Killer case and he says his force is in “a great place to solve” it.

Rodney Harrison, former Chief of Department for the New York City Police Department, was confirmed as the new police commissioner for Suffolk County in December and by the end of the year already promised to target the long-unsolved case.

On New Year’s Eve, Harrison stated at a press conference that he is “making a commitment to the residents of Suffolk County as well as the family members.” 

“We will not rest until we bring those accountable to justice,” he vowed.

The commissioner said that he is bringing his expertise from the NYPD to the table so he can examine the case with fresh eyes as he announced that he conducted a walkthrough of where some of the bodies were found. Harrison also said he has made progress while meeting with homicide investigators in Suffolk who are leading the investigation.

“A lot of great work was done,” he said, adding that there are “some great leads that are putting us in a great place to solve this case.”

For more than a decade now, the identity of the elusive murderer alternately dubbed the "Long Island Serial Killer," the "Gilgo Beach Killer," and the "Craigslist Ripper" has remained a mystery. Even the true scope of the killings isn't fully clear. While police have officially linked 10 victims, whose remains were found primarily near beaches along Long Island's south shore in 2010 and 2011, to the investigation, an additional six bodies were found in the same area at around the same time. Although those other victims haven't been officially declared part of the case, theories about how those additional killings could be connected have circulated for years. Many of the victims were sex workers who advertised their services on Craigslist, hence the "Craigslist Ripper" moniker.

Harrison has also pledged to release some 911 calls to the public which are possibly connected to the case, Newsday reports.

"I listened to the tapes yesterday," Harrison said on New Year’s Eve. "As long as it doesn't impede the investigation, I will be sharing those audiotapes to the public. But I want to make sure it doesn't hinder the investigation at all."

Emergency 911 calls related to the disappearance and death of Shannan Gilbert, have long been a source of contention in the case. A New York Appellate Division court ruled in 2020 that the Suffolk County Police Department must release 911 calls related to the disappearance of Gilbert, which her estate lawyer John Ray had been fighting to get for three and a half years.

Gilbert, 24, went missing on May 1, 2010 and the subsequent search for her led to the discovery of multiple bodies along the Long Island beachfront that police believe are tied to the Long Island Serial Killer. Despite the proximity of her remains to those other bodies, authorities have said they don't consider her death linked to LISK.

Gilbert, who had been a sex worker, made a panicked call to 911 the night she disappeared while seeing a client out on Oak Beach, Long Island. Ray previously told Oxygen.com that three other 911 calls were made that night. One call was from Gilbert's client Joseph Brewer and two were from neighbors. 

While Ray told Oxygen.com in 2020 that he is under strict court-implemented orders not to speak about the contents of the 911 tapes he has received, he said he has listened to them and calls them “extremely important and extremely interesting.” He said they reveal "many, many things that nobody knows right now" about the investigation. 

Ray told Oxygen.com on Thursday that Harrison recently reached out to him, which he views as a positive step forward.

“He told me he wants to be transparent and wants to work with me so I opened the door for that,” the lawyer stated.

Ray also noted that Suffolk Police are currently challenging him on his latest motion to get the 911 tapes released to the public; therefore he is concerned that the police may halt the release of the recordings by contending that they are part of an active investigation.

There are other efforts being made on the case as well. In October, Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini told Fox News that he has directed more than $300,000 into advanced technology to analyze old phone data in hopes of tracking down the killer responsible for the murders.