Police Reveal ‘Previously Unreleased Information’ About LISK Victims

Suffolk County police have publicly shared “previously unreleased information” about the four women they believe were murdered by the Long Island Serial Killer in hopes of jogging new leads in the now-decade-old cold case. 

“We believe now is the right time to disseminate this previously unreleased information in hopes of eliciting tips from the public and providing greater transparency about the victims,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney K. Harrison said in a statement Friday (via Newsday). “Our hope is that the public will review this information and come forward with any additional tips about the victims or a potential suspect or suspects.”

While at least 10 bodies were recovered from the desolate stretch of Gilgo Beach along Long Island’s southern coast beginning in Dec. 2010, the new information pertains only to the four women since dubbed “The Gilgo Four,” as the similarities between their murders suggest they were all killed by the same person.

In the release provided by the Suffolk investigators, they detailed the events leading up to the disappearances of Maureen Brainard-Barnes, Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman, and Amber Costello, all four of whom were sex workers who advertised their services online at the time of their death. None of the “previously unreleased information” was particularly groundbreaking or case-breaking, with investigators simply specifying the last time each victim was seen alive, what their online aliases were, and whether they had tattoos.

Harrison, who became the police commissioner of Suffolk County at the start of the year, has tried to be more transparent with the LISK case since taking office, quickly establishing a LISK task force; previous commissioners reportedly blocked investigations into the serial killings, became ensnared in the situation, and were even whispered as potential suspects, as one true-crime podcast speculated.

In April 2022, investigators released surveillance footage of Waterman in the lobby of a Holiday Inn Express in Hauppauge, New York, minutes before she left the motel to — police believe — rendezvous with her killer; Waterman was last seen June 6, 2010, and her body was found six months later in Gilgo Beach, the third victim of the “Gilgo Four.”

In recent years, there have been significant developments in the investigation, although none have brought police closer to catching the killer: In Jan. 2020, Suffolk police released photos of a portion of a belt found at the crime scene that investigators believe belonged to the suspect. Four months later, the remains of a “Jane Doe” recovered at the Gilgo site were identified as Valerie Mack, a 24-year-old woman who went missing in 2000. Suffolk police also launched a then-new website, gilgonews.com, as a catchall for information pertaining to the case.

“The public’s help in identifying additional suspects is critical,” Harrison said in April. “We make this announcement in hopes that additional video and photo evidence, with the raising of the reward, will result in someway, someone coming forward with information to help us find the person or people responsible for these homicides.”