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Shannan Gilbert's Sister, Attorney Insist Her Death Wasn't An Accident

Sherre Gilbert and John Ray insist that Shannan Gilbert, long linked to the Long Island Serial Case, didn't die in what police have described as "most likely an accident."

By Gina Tron
The Long Island Serial Killer Case, Explained

Days after a 911 call made by Shannan Gilbert in 2010 was released to the public, her sister and estate attorney are speaking out to challenge the police's assertions that her death was likely accidental.

The May 1, 2010 emergency call placed by Gilbert, whose disappearance and death kicked off the still-unsolved Long Island Serial Killer case, was released after a years-long effort to make it pubic. She had been visiting a client in Oak Beach, Long Island when she made the call. She vanished soon after and her remains wouldn't be discovered for more than a year.

In a Friday press conference, police called the 24-year-old sex worker’s death, which has never been officially linked to the serial killer case, was "most likely an accident."

On Tuesday, Gilbert estate lawyer John Ray and Gilbert’s sister Sherre Gilbert held a press conference outside Ray’s Long Island office.

Shannan Gilbert Pd

"It doesn't matter if people think that she's a victim of the Long Island Serial Killer or not. Something happened to her that night," Sherre Gilbert, 34, said, Newsday reports. "She ran for her life. She was in fear. She called 911. She was coherent enough to stay on a phone call for over 20 minutes. She was coherent enough to knock on peoples' doors, so that leads me to believe, why would she then run into the marsh?"

Gilbert's remains weren't found until December 2011 in a remote marsh in Oak Beach, about half a mile from where she was last seen. Authorities said at the time that they believed she ran into the marsh, became stuck and either drowned or succumbed to the elements. It was during the search for her that authorities began discovering remains they would ultimately tie to a serial killer. In all, 10 sets of remains in the area have been attributed to the unknown killer, or killers, known as the "Long Island Serial Killer," the "Gilgo Beach Killer," and the "Craigslist Ripper" because many of the women found dead had advertised sex work on Craigslist.

A medical examiner's autopsy for Gilbert's death was inconclusive, NBC News reportsGilbert's family, however, commissioned a private autopsy, which found injuries to her neck "consistent with strangulation," though there was insufficient evidence to make any definitive determination, according to NBC News.

Throughout much of the call released last week, Shannan appeared scared and distraught.

“These people are trying to kill me,” Gilbert told the 911 dispatcher in the 22-minute-long audio clip, released by the Suffolk Police Department on Friday. They also released two other 911 calls made by neighbors whose homes Gilbert approached for help.

"Somebody's after me. There's somebody after me. There's somebody after me!" Gilbert repeated in the phone call. 

On Friday, Ray told Oxygen.com by phone that "all you have to do is know some of the relevant facts, listen to the tape, listen to the blood-curdling screams, it is overwhelmingly the case that this is a murder. Shannan acted in a perfectly rational way throughout. If you thought you were going to be murdered, you wouldn't identify them."

He added that "her voice, her demeanor, everything about her tells her that she was a rational being."

On Tuesday, Sherre and Ray suggested that the attorney general's office appoint a monitor to review the case, Newsday reports