In 2010, police began formally investigating 10 different bodies found on a beach in Long Island, New York. The suspect, dubbed the Long Island Serial Killer, was believed to have killed all 10 victims from sometime in the 90s until 2010, when the bodies were discovered in and around Gilgo Beach.
The 2010 search for escort Shannan Gilbert along the same area is what eventually led authorities to the different body parts on the beach, with some victims’ bodies in later stages of decomposition than the others. Many of the remains were found in burlap sacks, which meant that the killer might be someone with access to such bags in abundance. Authorities also believed the Long Island Serial Killer was likely someone local to the area.
Unraveled: The Long Island Serial Killer on Discovery+ was meant to help bring new awareness to the case, which remains unsolved to this day. Because, even though there have been traces of evidence, like pieces of DNA and a belt buckle which authorities believe belonged to the killer, no suspect has been brought to justice. That being said, there are still some Long Island Serial Killer suspects to consider.
James Burke was a police chief thought to be involved somehow.
Former Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke is thought to be a person of interest to some who have followed the Long Island Serial Killer case. He was rumored to have had relations with local sex workers before, potentially putting him in circumstances where he might have crossed paths with Shannan Gilbert. However, no charges have ever been brought against Burke and he has never been considered an official suspect in the case.
John Bittrolff wasn't suspected in all of the murders in the case.
In 2017, John Bittrolff was a suspect for at least one of the murders in the case. He had already been convicted of murdering two sex workers and was suspected of killing a third. He was sentenced to 25 years for both murders, but he hadn’t been incarcerated at the time of the other murders in the Long Island Serial Killer investigation. He was also a carpenter who had experience hunting and lived close to where some body parts in the case had been found.
Joseph Brewer was one of the first persons of interest.
Joseph Brewer was the man who had hired Shannan Gilbert as an escort the night she went missing. He told authorities she began acting erratically and left his home. She proceeded to knock on the doors of his neighbors before disappearing. While Brewer was once a suspect in the case, he was cleared on all suspicions, though some armchair detectives still consider him as a possible lead.
Dr. Peter Hackett proved to be a dead end.
One of Brewer's neighbors, Dr. Peter Hackett, was once considered a suspect in the case of the Long Island Serial Killer too. Gilbert's mother reported Hackett called her the night her daughter went missing and claimed that he had taken her in to help her. Later, police dismissed him as a suspect because he had a history of making himself a part of major local events, in this case the Long Island Serial Killer investigation.
James Bissett was another person suspected to be the Long Island Serial Killer.
James Bissett, a co-owner of the Long Island Nursery, was a major supplier of burlap sacks to the area. And, just days after Gilbert's remains were found, Bissett died by suicide. There was never a formal investigation into whether or not he was responsible for Gilbert's death or any of the victims related to the case, but he remains a point of curiosity for those interested in figuring it out.