Gilgo Beach Murders: Authorities finally identify remains of a woman that disappeared two decades ago

National News

Long Island, New York (NBC) (05/29/20)— A woman whose partial remains were found on Long Island nearly a decade ago during a search for a missing sex worker was identified Thursday by authorities.

The woman, previously known as “Jane Doe #6,” was identified by Suffolk County Police as Valerie Mack, age 24.

Mack’s dismembered body was one of 11 sets of remains found along Ocean Parkway, a road on a narrow barrier island in Suffolk and Nassau counties, in 2010 and 2011.

Image: Gilgo Beach Victim Valerie Mack
Valerie Mack

The discovery was made while authorities searched for Shannan Gilbert, age 24, an escort who vanished on May 1, 2010, after leaving a client’s home at Oak Beach, a community on the island.

No suspect has publicly been identified in the killings and they remain unsolved.

Authorities have said that Gilbert’s killing doesn’t appear to match the other deaths, though they’ve said it could be connected.

Mack disappeared in 2000 while working as an escort in Philadelphia, police said.

Partial remains of Mack were found the same year in the community of Manorville, on Long Island, near the skeletal remains of a baby girl and an Asian man.

Manorville is roughly 50 miles east of Gilgo and Oak Beaches, where the other remains were found.

Remains believed to be the girl’s mother were later found along Ocean Parkway, police said. They have not been identified.

The rest of Mack’s body was found 11 years later at Gilgo Beach, police said. Mack was identified using genetic genealogy.

“For two decades, Valerie Mack’s family and friends were left searching for answers and while this is not the outcome they wanted, we hope this brings some sense of peace and closure,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said in a statement.

The other women whose remains have been identified are Melissa Barthelemy, age 24; Megan Waterman, age 22; Amber Lynn Costello, age 27; Maureen Brainard-Barnes, age 25; and Jessica Taylor, age 20.

There was no familial relationship between Jessica Taylor and Valerie Mack, who was also known as Melissa Taylor, police said.

NBC New York has reported that several of the women were sex workers.

Earlier this year, police released evidence in the case—a black leather belt embossed with the letters “HM” or “WH” — hoping it would yield new tips that could help solved the case.

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