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Items found in Long Island bodies case, sources say

OAK BEACH, N.Y. -- Police searching a Long Island marsh near where a New Jersey escort vanished last year found new items Tuesday, including clothing, that could provide clues in the case, law-enforcement sources tell NBC New York.

Divers found the items in knee-deep water in the marsh in Oak Beach, sources said. The Suffolk County Police Department said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon that no remains were found. But a law enforcement source tells NBC New York that remains were uncovered in the search.


 

The new search, which was not officially announced by police like the previous ones, appears to be the first time authorities have searched this particular area in recent months.

Read the original story from NBCNewYork.com

"This was not the result of a new tip," Suffolk County police inspector Stuart Cameron said at the press conference. "This was just a result of us wanting to re-search an area within which [missing escort Shannan Gilbert] was last seen."

"Today's conditions are more favorable than when we searched it in the past, because some of the areas were not under water today as they were in the past," he continued.

But neighbors wondered what prompted such a heavy police presence.

"They came in for 'a look,'" said one area resident. "But they came in with more than 14 vehicles, so they came in for more than just a look."

Gilbert was last seen running from a home in Oak Beach in May 2010. Gilbert's disappearance prompted a search of the nearby Gilgo beach area that ultimately resulted in the findings of at least 10 sets of remains.

Police have said they do not believe Gilbert's disappearance was connected to the other victims' cases.

In Tuesday's search, Suffolk police closed an access road to the Oak Beach gated community where Gilbert is believed to have visited a client the night she vanished.

Police had at least five canine units with them, sources tell NBC New York. Crime scene units and a dive team were also at the location.

Police would not confirm or deny whether they uncovered any additional potential evidence.

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer appeared briefly at the search site but then left.

Several homes are located in the vicinity of the swamp, including one owned by Peter Hackett, the doctor whose house was searched earlier this year in connection with Gilbert's disappearance. He was never named a suspect.

Joseph Brewer, the client police believe Gilbert drove to Oak Beach to meet, had been previously interviewed by detectives. He voluntarily surrendered his SUV and cooperated with a polygraph test. Brewer was never identified as a suspect in Gilbert's disappearance.

Mari Gilbert, Shannan's mother, told NBC New York she was unaware of  any search being conducted Tuesday.

Police conducted a separate search near Gilgo Beach Monday, but said they did not uncover any new evidence related to either case.

Police said last week they believe one person is responsible for the deaths of the 10 victims discovered in the underbrush between December 2010 and April of this year.

All 10 victims, only five of whom have been identified, appeared to have connections to the sex trade.

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