I know this is a very morbid topic to be writing about after the holidays but I recently read an article that triggered my obsession with this case again. I have lived on Long island all of my life and when I was in my twenties I used to hang out in the Robert Moses, Oak Beach area quite often. It is a beautiful, peaceful, popular area that was so much fun in the summertime. I will never go there again.
A recent article in New A recent article in Newsday brought the Gilgo Beach murders back to light. It was about an escort that had an encounter with Ex-Chief of the Suffolk County Police department James Burke. (I have my theories... but that is not what I want to write about. I want to write about the victims) The victims were mothers, daughters, sisters and friends that could have lived next door to you or I. They loved, they laughed, they cried. They were people that may have slipped through the cracks of society, but they should still always be remembered.
We've all heard the names, Melissa Barthelemy, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, Amber Costello, Shannen Gilbert, Jessica Taylor and Megan Waterman (including four more that are unidentified and speculation that there are seven more bodies possibly connected to the same killer). They were all escorts, but they were people with dreams and aspirations. Most of them had difficult childhoods that they were lucky to survive.
Amber Costello was raped when she was five years old. Shannen Gilbert had bi-polar disorder and a sister with schizophrenia, who killed her mother in July 2016. They were both distraught over the death of Shannen. Some were drug addicts, but they all had families that loved them. There is no cure for any of these things. People need to stop judging what these girls did for a living and focus on why these murders have not been solved.
Why did it take so long to respond to Shannen Gilbert's 23 minute 911 call? Why didn't the S.C.P.D even care about looking for these girls when they were reported missing? How would anyone feel if they walked into a police station to report their loved one missing to be told, "She's 24, she's where she wants to be, she's not missing."? Can anyone imagine being a family member and have reporters writing that family didn't care or didn't keep in touch like in Amber Costello's case or Shannen Gilbert's? Shannen;s mother Mari fought constantly to be heard.
Assumptions should never be made and judgment should never be cast just because someone is an escort. They all had their reasons for doing what they did for a living. No one seems to care that Suffolk County police officers are frequent clients of these girls and are paying for sex which is illegal. It's okay to judge the girls that were murdered but not okay to judge the police? It is the old "double standard" that it is acceptable to be a "John" but not acceptable to be the hooker! This and the "blue wall of silence" is what has kept this investigation from being investigated properly! If they would have cared from the beginning, maybe lives could have been saved. It is a tragedy that could have been prevented.