Police in Long Island have released video that they say contains the last known sighting of one of the victims in a decades-long homicide investigation.
Megan Waterman, 22, was last seen alive in June 2010. Her remains were discovered months later along Ocean Parkway near Gilgo Beach on New York’s Long Island. She is believed to be one of at least 10 victims killed between 1996 and 2010 whose remains have been discovered in the area; Waterman’s remains were found along Ocean Parkway on Dec. 13, 2010.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney K. Harrison announced that the department has released five surveillance videos showing Waterman in the lobby of a Holiday Inn Express in Hauppauge, on Long Island, between June 4 and June 6, 2010.
“We have released video surveillance footage and photographs of the last time one of our victims, Megan Waterman, was seen prior to her death,” Harrison said.
Harrison said that Waterman was wearing a yellow sweater and is shown both arriving and leaving the hotel.
“We believe she did leave the hotel that night to meet her killer,” Harrison added.
At the press conference, Harrison also announced a “completely revamped” Gilgo News website dedicated specifically to disseminating information about the investigation into the unsolved cases.
The website was updated “so that investigators can effectively release more information to the public in a timely manner,” Harrison said at the press conference.
Harrison also said that Suffolk Police, in partnership with Suffolk County Crime Stoppers, has doubled the amount of reward money from $25,000 to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction in the case.
Waterman, like several of the other victims whose remains have been identified in the Gilgo Beach area, worked as an escort and advertised on Craigslist.
She is one of the “Gilgo Beach Four,” the name given to a group of women who were last seen between July 2007 and September 2010. The other three victims are Melissa Barthelemy, 24, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 25, and Amber Lynn Costello, 27.
The grim discovery of the women’s remains was sparked by the 2010 search for Shannan Gilbert, 23, who also worked as an escort. According to police, Gilbert was seen running through the gated community of Oak Beach after leaving the home of a client.
In December 2010, while police were searching for Gilbert, they discovered remains that were later identified as Barthelemy. Within days, the remains of Brainard-Barnes, Costello, and Waterman were also discovered in the area.
As the search for Gilbert continued, investigators found remains of a fifth suspected victim in March 2011 several miles east of where the Gilgo Beach Four were found. These partial remains were identified as belonging to Jessica Taylor, whose other remains had been previously found in Manorville, New York, some 45 miles away from Gilgo Beach.
Taylor, police say, also worked as an escort.
Additional victims discovered in the Gilgo Beach area include Valerie Mack, who disappeared at the age of 24 while living in Philadelphia, as well as a female toddler, a woman believed to be the toddler’s mother, and an as-yet-unidentified Asian male.
Mack’s partial remains found in Gilgo Beach in 2011 also matched yet another set of remains found in Manorville in 2000.
Harrison, the Suffolk County police commissioner, established a multi-agency task force that includes representatives from the FBI, New York State Police, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office and the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office to “reinvigorate the investigation and bring the person or persons responsible for these crimes to justice,” the Gilgo News website says.
“Multiple females, one male, and a toddler were robbed of their lives between 1996 and 2010. The pursuit of a 2010 missing persons search unveiled their remains across Long Island,” the website also says, calling the decades-long investigation into their deaths “one of the most consequential homicide investigations in the history of Long Island[.]”
[Images via Suffolk County Police Department.]
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