Long Island police have released three chilling secret-911 calls made by one of the victims linked to the notorious Gilgo Beach serial killer and claim that her 2010 death was a result of a ‘tragic accident.’
At a news conference on Friday afternoon, Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison released three 911 calls related to Shannan Gilbert’s disappearance – one from her, and two others from homeowners in the area where she vanished.
He called Shannan Gilbert’s death a ‘tragic accident’. It’s unclear how she died, and police said her cause of death was ‘undetermined’.
‘Based on the evidence, the facts, and the totality of the circumstances, the prevailing opinion in Shannan’s death, while tragic, was not a murder and was most likely noncriminal,’ Harrison said, ABC7 News reported.
The Suffolk County Police released three calls, which have long been kept secret, including the 22-minute call from Gilbert.
In the frantic call, the 24-year-old escort can be heard claiming that someone was trying to kill her before she went missing on May 1, 2010 near Oak Beach.
Her body was found in a marsh 19 months later.
However, John Ray, the attorney for the Gilbert family, slammed the police findings denied the claims and told DailyMail.com that the police were spinning the same story following a narrative that contradicts all the evidence.
‘The audio tapes compellingly establish that Shannan Gilbert acted rationally and did not die in a tragic accident in a marsh that was impenetrable that the Suffolk County police are saying,’ he said.
‘She was murdered and her body was placed there. The evidence is overwhelming.’
Gilbert has long been tied to the unsolved Gilgo Beach murders. In the search for her, police found the remains of four other women buried in burlap sacks along a barren stretch of Ocean Beach Parkway.
The four women would later be known as the ‘Gilgo Beach Four’. All four victims had worked as escorts using Craigslist. Six more bodies, linked to the Gilgo Beach serial killer found months later.
A photo of Shannan Gilbert who was last seen alive on May 1, 2010 in Oak Beach, Long Island
The Gilgo Beach serial killer had a pattern of wrapping his victims in burlap to camouflage them, before dumping their bodies in the dense area of shrubs by Ocean Parkway, a 15.59 mile parkway that extends Jones Beach Island between Jones Beach State Park and Captree State Park located on the South Shore of Long Island
A map showing where the victims remains were located along the barren stretch of Ocean Beach Parkway in Gilgo Beach, located on the South Shore of Long Island
On the night of her disappearance, Gilbert was driven out to Long Island by her driver identified by police as Michael Pak. Gilbert was meeting up with a client, named as Joseph Brewer by police, who found her on Craigslist. They met at his home in the gated-community of Oak Beach Association near Gilgo Beach.
Shortly after being driven there, Gilbert placed a call to 911 where she is heard saying ‘something is going to happen to me,’ as she cries out for help as two men are overheard in the background.
She then says: ‘Please get me out of here … I want to go home.’
The audio calls that last about 22 minutes was made around 4:51 am and Gilbert is heard telling the 911 operator frantically and repeatedly: ‘Somebody’s after me,’ as the operator is trying to pinpoint her location.
‘I don’t know where I am. I am inside a house. I don’t know where I am. Can you trace where I am?’
At times during the audio, Gilbert appears terrified, and confused yet coherent and, which is followed at times by silence and blood-curdling screams: ‘Please stop it. What are you going to do to me?’
As the operator repeatedly interjects: ‘Hello. Hello.’
While she is on the call, she knocks on neighbor Gus Coletti’s door, and he can be heard saying ‘What’s the matter? Is somebody after you?’.
After the call ends, Coletti makes his own call to 911, saying: ‘There’s a young girl … running aorund here screaming, and there’s some guy trying to follow her.’
In another call released on Friday, another neighbor, Barbara Brennan, tells a 911 operator that Gilbert has knocked on her door and said she was in danger.
Brennan refused to let her in because she was home with her elderly mother.
During the press conference on Friday, police also said they interviewed Brewer and Pak and determined they were not responsible for Gilbert’s death.
Gilbert’s body was found on December 13, 2011 in a swamp in Oak Beach – about a quarter mile from where she was last seen alive.
Gilbert’s body was found December 13, 2011 about a quarter mile from where she was last seen in Oak Beach near Gilgo Beach, nineteen months after she disappeared
Pictured here are murder victims known as the ‘Gilgo Beach Four.’ Each woman worked as a sex worker and listed their services on Craigslist
In April, Harris released never seen before video of 22-year-old Gilgo Beach murder victim Megan Waterman standing in the lobby at the Holiday Inn Express in Hauppauge in June 6, 2010 who would later meet her would-be-killer
Investigators believe that the young woman left her hotel room to meet the person who would later kill her. She was captured by a security camera walking out of the hotel around 1:30 a.m. Her body was discovered on December 13, 2010 beside Ocean Parkway near Gilgo beach. She has been strangled
Detective Lieutenant Kevin Byer, commanding officer of the Suffolk County Police Homicide section appeared in a video on a website dedicated to the Gilgo Beach murders.
He explained that three calls were placed – one by Gilbert, and two by other homeowners in the area. He also summed up the video by stating that Gilbert ‘died in a tragic accident’.
‘I encourage people to listen to them in their entirety portions of the call taken out of context will sound sensational.’
Gilbert’s family has been fighting for more than a decade for the release of the 911 calls in hope of bringing more transparency to the case and finally getting much needed closure for the family.
In a previous interview, the family’s lawyer accused police of doing an ‘inadequate and negligent job’ in trying to track down the killer(s).
‘The reason could be there was something on there that they did not want you and I to know,’ he said, NBC News reported.
In 2021, there was a renewed interest in the case when Suffolk County Police Commissioner, Raymond Harris became appointed police commissioner.
Before Harris became chief, four other Suffolk County police commissioners worked had worked on the case but were unsuccessful in their attempts in catching the killer.
The unsolved murder mystery has frustrated family members of the victims, who are still seeking answers all these years later.
Harris, a former Chief of Department at the NYPD, has vowed to help solve the case creating a new task force and releasing additional evidence in hopes it will develop new leads.
Partial skeletal remains of Valerie Mack were located in a wooded area in Manorville in September 2000. Partial skeletal remains of Jessica Taylor, an escort working in New York City, were located in a wooded area in Manorville on July 26, 2003
The skeletal remains of an Asian male were discovered along Ocean Parkway on April 4, 2011.It is estimated that the male was between 17 and 23 years old at the time of his death
In April, Harris released never seen before video of 22-year-old Gilgo Beach murder victim Megan Waterman standing in the lobby at the Holiday Inn Express in Hauppauge in June 6, 2010.
Investigators believe that the young woman left her hotel room to meet the person who would later kill her. She was captured by a security camera walking out of the hotel around 1:30 a.m.
Her body was discovered on December 13, 2010 beside Ocean Parkway near Gilgo beach. She has been strangled.
The killer had a pattern of wrapping his victims in burlap to camouflage them, before dumping their bodies in the dense area of shrubs by Ocean Parkway, a 15.59 mile parkway that extends Jones Beach Island between Jones Beach State Park and Captree State Park located on the South Shore of Long Island.
After Gilbert’s body was found, police discovered Melissa Barthelemy’s body on December 2010, which was found in the vicinity of Gilgo Beach.
By spring 2011, 10 sets of human remains – those of eight women, an Asian man- believed to be a cross dresser, and a toddler that was linked to the child of one of the victims, were found.
Some of the remains were later linked to dismembered body parts found elsewhere on Long Island.