Gilgo Beach murders: New York state senator calling for attorney general to appoint special prosecutor

Apparent Long Island serial killer remains unknown after more than a decade

Fox News’ Laura Ingle reports from Oak Beach, New York, as a state senator says he’s pressing investigators for more information on the status of the case.

New York state Sen. Phil Boyle on Monday called for more information pertaining to the investigation into the infamous Gilgo Beach murders more than 10 years later and asked the attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor to review the early stages of the case. 

The Long Island Republican senator is urging New York State Attorney General Letitia James to designate a special prosecutor to “review the initial states of the Gilgo Beach/Long Island Serial Killer (LISK) investigation” and probe the actions of two former Suffolk County officials and one who still holds an office. He said Monday the community needs “an outside review of how we got here.” 

“There are far too many conflicts and questions that are still in place 10 years later,” Boyle said. “And people want to know – the residents of Suffolk County, the residents of New York and the resident of the United States – they need to know that everything that could be done was done to try to get justice for these victims and their families and to ensure the people of Suffolk County that their police department, at the time, did everything that they could to solve this case.”

An aerial view of the area near Gilgo Beach and Ocean Parkway on Long Island where police have been conducting a prolonged search after finding ten sets of human remains on April 15, 2011 in Wantagh, New York. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The investigation into the discovery of 11 sets of human remains strewn along a suburban New York beach highway has been ongoing since 2011. 

The remains have been identified as belonging to nine women, a man and a toddler. Some were later linked to dismembered body parts found elsewhere on Long Island, making for a puzzling crime scene that stretched from a park near the New York City limits to a resort community on Fire Island and out to far eastern Long Island.

Investigators have been unable to determine who killed them or whether a lone serial killer or several suspects were involved. Over the years, they’ve said it is unlikely one person killed all the victims.

On Monday, Boyle accused a former Suffolk County police chief, James Burke, of being “a prime suspect” in the murders. 

He also demanded to know why current Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone did not remove Burke from his position as top cop after he turned down the FBI’s help with the investigation, and demanded that current police officials reveal whether Burke “was ever questioned and cleared as a potential suspect,” according to a press release. 

Boyle said he has sent letters to current Suffolk County Police Commissioner Stuart Cameron, Bellone and James. 

In an emailed statement provided to Fox News, a Suffolk County Police Department spokesperson said the Gilgo Beach murder investigation “continues to be a top priority.”

“The department has detectives who are solely dedicated to this investigation and our department is working closely with both the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office and with the FBI,” the spokesperson said. “The Suffolk County Police Department does not comment on suspects in any criminal investigation.”

Spokespersons for the district attorney’s and attorney general’s offices did not respond to Fox News’ requests seeking comment. Bellone’s office referred Fox News to the police department statement. Burke could not immediately be reached for comment as no phone working number was listed. 

Burke pleaded guilty in 2016 to unrelated charges and was convicted of punching a handcuffed man suspected of stealing sex toys and pornography from the chief’s department SUV. He was sentenced to 46 months in prison and was released to home confinement after serving most of his sentence. 

As for the murder investigation, police in January 2020 revealed a previously unreleased photograph of initials on a black leather belt — either an HM or WH, depending on the angle — that they say was handled by an unknown suspect. But Boyle said even that evidence took too long. 

“They waited ten years to show us part of a belt,” Boyle said during the press conference. “We’re not going to wait another ten years to see the buckle that goes with the belt.”

Months earlier, state officials gave investigators the green light to ask the FBI to deploy genetic genealogy, a technique in which genetic profiles are run though databases to find potential relatives of a homicide victim or suspect.

Fox News’ Marta Dhanis contributed to this report, as well as The Associated Press. 

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