Atlantic County Prosecutor Ted Housel said his office has been in contact with authorities in Suffolk County, N.Y., after four bodies were found there, bearing a striking resemblance to the women found dead in Egg Harbor Township four years ago.
Police looking for a missing prostitute from New Jersey found the first body Saturday in Babylon, N.Y. Three more bodies were discovered Monday.
Shannon Gilbert, 24, of Jersey City, had arranged through the Web site Craigslist to meet a client on Fire Island when she disappeared May 1, but Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer said there is no indication yet that one of the bodies found was hers.
But the mother of another missing woman who worked as a Craigslist escort, said police have told her that her daughter's may be one of the four bodies found.
Megan Waterman, 22, of Scarborough, Maine, was last seen in June, when she was staying at a Long Island hotel with her boyfriend.
Waterman's mother, Lorraine Ela, told The Associated Press that a Scarborough detective told her he was "leaning toward one of the four victims being Megan, but he's not 100 percent guaranteed."
Police in New York are considering the possibility that a serial killer may have dumped the four bodies along a quarter-mile stretch of road not far from Long Island's Jones Beach. The site is about 15 miles from where her daughter went missing.
DNA and dental records are being used to try to identify the bodies, two of which have been confirmed to be female.
On Nov. 20, 2006, the bodies of four women who worked as prostitutes in Atlantic City were found behind marshes off the Black Horse Pike in Egg Harbor Township's West Atlantic City section. The women were in a drainage ditch all facing the same way and had no shoes on. At least two were strangled, and they all were believed to be killed over a month period.
In a statement released Tuesday, Housel said the investigation into those homicides is ongoing.
"We have been in contact with authorities in Suffolk County, N.Y.," he said. "It would not be fair for us to comment on their investigation."
The Suffolk County police have received calls from several law-enforcement agencies since the discovery, the spokesman said. He would not confirm whether Atlantic County was one of them.
The department would not comment on clothing or other details about the bodies, including how the four may have died. When asked how close the bodies were to one another, the spokesman said, "near enough that (Dormer) said it wasn't a coincidence."
The bodies were found feet from the roadway on Gilgo Beach and appear to have been killed elsewhere and then thrown from a vehicle, Dormer said. Some of the badly decomposed remains were as old as 18 months to two years.
The women in Atlantic City were believed to have been killed within a month before they were found.
While no one was ever arrested in that case, Terry Oleson - a handyman from Salem County - was investigated, although the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office never called him a suspect. He did give DNA and hair samples to be compared to evidence found on the women, but those results were never released. Housel has said Oleson was never formally cleared in the crime because he was never named as a suspect or even a person of interest.
On Tuesday, Oleson's attorney, James Leonard Jr., called the similarities between the two cases "eerie," and pointed out that his client has not been to New York.
"I remain hopeful that the person or persons responsible for these horrific crimes will be identified and brought to justice," Leonard said. "I am 1,000 percent certain that when that day finally comes, that Terry Oleson will not be the person charged."
Meanwhile, Suffolk County Police officers returned to the scene Tuesday with a cadaver dog, searching the area for additional bodies. Despite a howling wind, temperatures in the low 20s and a coating of snow on the ground, Dormer said the dog would still be able to do its work. He said the search of the vast, remote area could take days or longer.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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