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The two journalists, and co-hosts of the “Unraveled” podcast and a two-part documentary, explained that there is hope for progress after more than a decade of mystery. Jensen and Linkletter told the Las Vegas audience that police have told them that they are currently trying to use DNA to identify victims and that they are analyzing cell phone data related to the case (a possible suspect had taunted the family of one of the victims by phone).
The two also cited a new task force on the case, which Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison announced in February.
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 an enigma. 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 or deaths could be connected have circulated for years.
The case has also been bogged down by allegations of misconduct on the part of the Suffolk County Police Department. Former Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke, who previously led the LISK investigation, had cut ties with the federal investigators during the serial killer probe, much to the chagrin of victim advocates. Burke later served a 46-month federal prison sentence after pleading guilty to beating up a handcuffed suspect, who Linkletter said was actually a childhood friend, who had stolen a gym bag from his SUV in a separate case.
However, Jensen and Linkletter noted that new police leadership has been making efforts at greater transparency. Earlier this month, police released footage showing victim Megan Waterman standing in a Holiday Inn Express in Hauppauge shortly before going missing in June 2010. They're hoping the public might have further information about her movements that day.
Linkletter and Jensen also played some clips which were cut from their documentary. In one piece of footage, a friend of LISK victim Melissa Barthelemy who only identified herself as Kritzia explained that her slain pal told her that she was planning to see a client on Long Island before she vanished. He was a middle-age white man that she had seen one or twice before. She said she had offered her about $1,000 for her escort services; many of the victims were sex workers who advertised their services on Craigslist.
The two “Unraveled” co-hosts noted that the killer may have promised victims up to $1,500 for services and may have encouraged victims to not bring their cell phones with them.
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