What has become of the so-called Long Island Serial Killer
who terrorized New York City three years ago? You may recall that 10 corpses, including at least six known female prostitutes whose bodies, some dismembered, were discovered on the South Shore of Long Island, New York, between December, 2010, and April, 2011.
The murders are believed to be the work of the still unidentified Long Island Serial Killer (also referred to by media sources as the Gilgo Killer) who may have started killing 15 years ago based on forensic analysis of the victims’ bodies.
I believe that the Long Island Serial Killer may have left New York since his Gilgo Beach burial ground was discovered by authorities in 2010. This would be very consistent with the behavioral profile I developed for him.
The profiling of serial killers—that is, predicting their characteristics and behavior, while not an exact science, is well established among criminologists and professional investigators, especially the FBI.
In the vernacular of profiling, the unknown serial killer of six young, white, female prostitutes on Long Island, New York, and four other unidentified victims, including a female toddler and a young Asian male (believed to be a sex worker), is an “organized” killer.
This means that he plans and executes his murders with great care, making him very difficult to apprehend. After establishing contact with his victims on “Craigslist,” a classified advertising site on the Internet, he met them on his own terms, killed them, and then transported their bodies for disposal along Ocean Parkway on Long Island.
In contrast to the meticulous Long Island Serial Killer, the infamous Jack the Ripper in 19th century London was a classic “disorganized” killer and homicidal manic whose crimes were spontaneous and haphazard. He slashed his victims and left them in a heap where they died.
Based on the principles of behavioral profiling, the unknown Long Island serial killer is most likely a white male in his late 30s or 40s. He is likely married or has a girlfriend. He is well educated, technologically adept, and well spoken. He may even be charming. He is financially secure, has a reliable job, and owns a car or truck.
Although he does not currently live on or near Ocean Parkway on the South Shore of Long Island, he is intimately familiar with the area and may have once lived there. Most of all, he is careful and meticulous. He knows how to cover his tracks.
Significantly, the unidentified killer may be transient and perhaps an annual summer visitor to the South Shore of New York. This is suggested by the fact that all of the identified sex worker victims, although they disappeared during different years, were reported missing between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Such a pattern is not really surprising. Two of the defining characteristics of organized, psychopathic serial killers are repetitious, compulsive or cyclical behavior, and the ability to blend back into their seemingly normal lives between killings.
It is also possible that the killer once resided in Manhattan because seven telephone calls made over a 6-week period in 2009 to the sister of one of his victims—that is, Melissa Barthelemy, using the victim’s own cell phone—were traced to Manhattan.
In my opinion, the Long Island Serial Killer will absolutely not stop killing until he is apprehended. He may be dormant right now, lying in wait, or may have relocated and is currently targeting victims elsewhere. Meticulous sexual psychopaths such as he and Ted Bundy love killing too much to stop. Bundy, you will recall, crisscrossed the country to avoid capture.
Serial killers such as he, Bundy and Dennis Rader, the man known as “BTK” (Bind, Torture, Kill) who terrorized the city of Wichita, KS, are driven by fantasy and overpowering compulsions to kill. They crave the act of killing like a narcotic drug and suffer no remorse for the harm they do.
It has been clinically demonstrated that some serial killers actually become tranquil when presented by visual images of brutality and extreme violence, rather than becoming agitated as a normal person would under such circumstances. BTK, for example, has stated that the moment of ultimate satisfaction in his crimes was reached when he extinguished the life of his victims through strangulation. At that moment, “I was God,” he has said.
No, the Long Island Serial Killer will most certainly not stop, so let’s hope and pray this unknown psychopath is apprehended before a new mass grave is found.
I offer many other shocking insights into the twisted minds and actions of deranged serial predators in my new book Why We Love Serial Killers: The Curious Appeal of the World's Most Savage Murderers by Skyhorse Press. To read the rave reviews and order it now, click:
Dr. Scott Bonn is professor of sociology and criminology at Drew University. He is available for consultation and media commentary. Follow him @DocBonn on Twitter and visit his website docbonn.com