Case Study: The Search for the Craigslist Ripper
First appearing in 2007, the Long Island Serial Killer (also referred to by media sources as the “Gilgo Killer” and the “Craigslist Ripper”) is an unknown serial killer who is thought to have murdered at least four sex workers and dumped their bodies along the Ocean Parkway, near the remote beach towns of Gilgo Beach and Oak Beach in Suffolk County and the area of Jones Beach State Park in Nassau County. As of April 10, 2011, eight bodies had been dumped just feet from the Ocean Parkway, a highway leading to the popular Jones Beach State Park. In December 2010, investigators, while following the disappearance of a New Jersey woman who was seen working as a Craigslist escort, happened upon the corpses of four women. The women were identified as missing sex workers who had booked clients over the internet. Four additional bodies were found when officers returned to the area in late March 2011.
All eight bodies were located within an eight-mile radius on the north side of the Parkway. Investigators determined that some of the victims had been dead for a long time and that the four women found in December 2010 were probably killed somewhere else and dumped by the beach highway. Investigators approached the investigation slowly and methodically, looking at the evidence to see what might be similar or dissimilar about the victims. In May 2011, the investigation continued as the search for more bodies moved to Nassau County, where police cadaver dogs and additional mounted police units joined the search. As of the 2018, a suspect has not yet been identified in the killings. The disturbing nature of this case demonstrates the importance of a thorough investigation and one whereby evidence must be gathered properly and legally.
Using the context from the excerpt and class material from Chapter 2, answer the following discussion questions in paragraph form.
The investigation of serial homicide cases represents one of the greatest challenges to criminal investigation:
- Based on class material and this case, how do you think information for a search warrant could be relevant or important to the case?
- Given this case, what are your thoughts on the use of warrantless searches, based on class materials?