Police Probe Skeletal Remains Found On Long Island

Published February 18, 2012 9:18PM (EST)

MANORVILLE, N.Y. (AP) — Another human skeleton has turned up in a wooded area on the eastern end of Long Island, in a town where at least four other sets of human remains have been discovered in recent years.

The latest set of bones was discovered at around 6:30 p.m. Friday in a pine barrens in Manorville. A resident of the town, Matt Samuel, said he was walking through the area with his dog when he made the find.

"I probably walked by it a hundred times before, and I saw it kind of sticking out of the ground, and it looked unusual. I looked a little closer and from there discovered that it was human remains," he said, adding that it looked like the body had decomposed many years ago. "It was wrapped in bed sheets and a plastic bag, It was a whole body, but just the bones, there was trees growing up through it, so it has been there a long time."

Suffolk County Police said the undergrowth suggested the body had been dumped about five years ago, but an anthropologist was being brought in to examine the site. The age, gender and identity of the person were unknown.

The body adds to a growing list of unsolved mysteries involving corpses found in the town, some of which lies within the Long Island Central Pine Barrens, a protected forest that is one of the wilder areas on the heavily suburban island.

Between 2000 and 2003, four bodies were discovered in the town's forests. Two were men, found not far from the site of Friday's discovery, near where the Long Island Expressway cuts through the town. They have never been identified.

Two others were women who had been beheaded and dismembered, possibly by the same mass murderer.

Their heads and other parts of their bodies were discovered last spring when police on the trail of a suspected serial killer searched a long stretch of beach highway on a barrier island 45 miles to the west. That search also turned up eight other corpses, several of which belonged to missing prostitutes. Others remain unidentified, and police are still unsure how many of the killings are related. Investigators also discovered the body of an 11th person on the same stretch of barrier islands in December, but have said they believe that woman, also a missing prostitute, drowned accidentally.

One of the women whose remains were partly found in Manorville has been identified as Jessica Taylor, 20, of New York City. Her torso was found about four miles from the site of Friday's discovery.

Suffolk County Deputy Inspector Kevin Fallon told reporters Saturday that it was too early to tell whether the new skeleton is related to any of those other cases.

By Salon Staff

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