Suffolk County DA office admits possible link between John Bittrolff and LISK

John BittrolffI’ve been pretty quiet the past few months. I haven’t been writing or blogging at all. But I’ve been paying close attention to the news. In May, a Suffolk county jury found John Bittrolff guilty of the decades-old murders of Rita Tangredi and Colleen McNamee. If you’ve ever kept up with my blog, you know Bittrolff caught my attention when he was arrested for those murders in 2014. I’ve been blogging about him for several years now, wondering if he could be responsible for some of the remains found on Gilgo Beach in 2010, the handiwork of what many call the Long Island Serial Killer, or LISK. Click here to read the full blog post!

Arrest made in Karina Vetrano’s murder

Karina Vetrano poses for a photo after competing in the Spartan Race.A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post on how the Queens DA had sent a request to the New York State Commissioner of Criminal Justice Services asking for permission to use familial searching of DNA to help solve the murder of Karina Vetrano, a thirty-year-old jogger who was brutally raped and murdered while out for a run on Howard Beach. Basically, what happened here is the police have DNA from the crime scene, but it doesn’t match anyone in the CODIS database. They wanted the state of New York to allow them to search for familial hits in the system to try to track down their killer. For example, maybe someone related to the killer has been arrested of a felony and if they could find a familial hit, it could lead them to their killer. I’ve been keeping tabs on this case, as while I agree that allowing law enforcement to use familial DNA searches could help solve a lot of crimes that have gone unsolved for years, I also worry it is a slippery slope when it comes to an individual’s right to privacy.  Click here to read the full blog post!

Dismembered remains found in the Bronx this week

Is the Manorville Butcher back at work this week? Yesterday, police reported two workers at the Metropolitan trash Transfer Station in the Bronx discovered a woman’s torso and leg in a pile of trash that had been dropped off the night before. The leg was missing a foot. Police secured through five containers in the facility–three that came from the Bronx and two from Kearny, New Jersey. By morning, they had recovered both of the woman’s arms, but neither of her hands.
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A map of Long Island with the locations of various murder victims plotted on it

A Closer Look at the Long Island Serial Killer and John Bittrolff

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at the timelines and potential victims of the serial killer(s) that have been plaguing the Long Island and Manorville areas over the past few decades and I wanted to get it all down in writing and plot the locations on a map. In one of my recent posts, I promised to do this. I am a visual learner and really wanted to see everything plotted out in entirety. Please note, all locations on the map are approximate and by grouping them together here, I am not insinuating that one killer is responsible for all these murders. I am just looking for a pattern and think it is important to view all these cases as a whole for now before you can begin to group certain ones together and make assumptions.
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Is former Suffolk Police Chief James Burke connected to LISK?

Could it be true? That’s what John Ray, attorney for Shannan Gilbert’s family, is suggesting. In an explosive news conference on Thursday, Ray brought forth a Long Island escort named “Leanne” who claims about a year after Gilbert went missing, she was roughed up in a sexual encounter with former Suffolk Police Chief James Burke in an Oak Beach house party where alcohol and cocaine were prevalent.  Leanne claims Burke choked her and forced her into oral sex after calling her a “not a good whore” and paying her for her services in 2011, just months before he assumed the role of police chief. Leanne also claims to have had several other Suffolk County police officers as clients and offered to take a lie detector test to back up her story.
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Previously unidentified victim now positively linked to the Gilgo Beach murders

I’ve been following the Long Island Serial Killer case for years, and I think this might be the biggest reveal we’ve seen yet. In 1997, nineteen years ago, a woman’s torso was discovered in Hempstead Lake State Park. Her identity is still unknown, but investigators have been calling her “Peaches” since the discovery, referring to a heart-shaped peach that was tattooed onto her left breast. Her torso was found wrapped in a black plastic bag and placed inside a green Rubbermaid bin that was left in a wooded area in Rockville Centre. Police know that Peaches was a black woman between 20 and 30 years old. Her torso showed signs of a surgical Cesarean section scar.
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Should familial DNA searching be legal in all 50 states?

Logo for CODIS: Combined DNA Index SystemYou know the drill: a murder is committed and investigators gather evidence from the crime scene–fingerprints, strands of hair, and, if they’re lucky, DNA. Once a DNA profile is obtained, police enter it into the national CODIS database, searching for a match. CODIS stands for Combined DNA Index System, a program supported and run by the FBI. One part of CODIS is the NDIS, or the National DNA Index System, which contains DNA profiles contributed by the federal, state, and local law enforcement. Whenever law enforcement enters a new DNA profile into CODIS, it is in hopes that the computer program will return a match. Sometimes that match comes in the form of another crime scene that has been entered into the system that maybe police did not think were linked. Sometimes that match comes in the form of a direct hit on an individual whose DNA has already been submitted into the system after a prior conviction. Sometimes there is no match at all and the case turns cold. In the rarest of occasions, however, there is another kind of hit–a familial match.
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Cal Harris acquitted in wife’s 2001 murder

Calvin HarrisIt has been 15 years and a total of four murder trials for New York millionaire and businessman Calvin Harris. This week, the wild ride finally came to an end as a judge acquitted him of killing his wife, Michele. I’ve been mulling that verdict over the last few days, dancing around writing a blog post about it but not knowing where to start. You see, if you have read my book Missing Wives, Missing Lives, you’ll know that I don’t believe Cal is innocent. His actions on the morning of September 12, 2001, when he claimed to discover his wife did not come home the night before just don’t sit well with me. He’d threatened to kill her in the past. The couple was in the middle of a bitter divorce. And yet Cal didn’t seem to even bat an eye when Michele’s abandoned minivan was discovered near the end of the long, winding Harris driveway with the keys still in the ignition. Instead of reporting his wife missing, he took her car to work with him that same morning and cleaned it out.
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Did Shannan Gilbert fall victim to the Long Island Serial Killer?

shannangilbertYears after her body was discovered in an Oak Beach marsh, Shannan Gilbert’s family has released the results of an independent autopsy, raising new questions about how she may have died. For years, police have insisted that Gilbert drowned after becoming disoriented in a drug-induced panic on that fateful May morning in 2010. But a new autopsy conducted by Dr. Michael Badan released yesterday reveals it’s possible she was murdered, just as her family has always suspected.
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Maura Murray has been missing for 12 years today

It’s a case that has gripped New England crime sleuths for over a decade. Twelve years ago today, Maura Murray mysteriously disappeared after a one-vehicle car accident on Route 112 in Haverhill, New Hampshire.
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