America’s Serial Killer And The Rise Of Online Prostitution

Feb 15, 2012
Crime
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Long Island, New York. It is the most densely populated island in the US, and is long renowned for its affluence. For many, it is a place to escape the melee of the city that never sleeps – somewhere to relax, to spend time on the golf course or at one of the island’s 30 wineries.

But in December 2010, the peace was shattered. Seven months earlier, a woman had gone missing from a gated community in Jones Beach, Suffolk county, on the southern part of the Island. 24-year-old Shannan Gilbert was a sex worker, who advertised on the website Craigslist. That night, she had traveled out to the Island to meet a client.  But after the meeting, something happened which made her run off into nearby marshland.

On December 11, a Suffolk county police officer was searching the sand dunes with a cadaver dog, when they came across the remains of a woman.

Jones Beach, Long Island, where 11 bodies have been found.

Later that day, as the authorities continued their search of the area, they found three more bodies. Over the following months, a total of 11 bodies, including Shannan’s, were found along this desolate stretch of beach. Five of the dead were sex workers who advertised online. The killer is still at large.

“Fast, anonymous, and more dangerous than ever”
Last night’s True Stories: America’s Serial Killer, described what has been dubbed one of the worst serial killings in America’s history.

The film, which aired on Channel 4, is essentially a timeline of the disappearance, and discovery of the victims. However, it focuses on five in particular – young girls who all ‘fell prey to a new, highly dangerous form of prostitution’: the online escort industry. They were, the program says, part of a rapidly growing cyber sex trade worth millions, that is ‘fast, anonymous, and more dangerous than ever.’

This is more than a news report. Friends and relatives describe how the girls were sucked into the lucrative online trade. One of the victims, 27-year-old Amber Costello, began advertising her services because she saw how much money her sister, Kimberly, was making from the escort business. ‘She wanted more, fast … Amber would see me traveling, making all this money.. she’s like, screw this, I’m coming to work with you,’ Kimberly told True Stories.

But while Kimberly worked for a licensed agency which screened clients, her sister decided to cut out the middle man, posting her own ads on Craigslist. But, as the film explains, there was one downside to the fast money operation – the risks were high, and Amber’s only protection ‘was her instinct’.

The film touched upon the issue of whether investigations into the disappearance of sex workers are treated seriously by the police. In one interview, the mother of Melissa Bartholomew, one of the women killed on Long Island, told how the NYPD refused to take action on her missing persons report until her daughter had been gone for 10 days.

The online trade
True Stories: America’s Serial Killer goes some way in exploring the online sex trade. But because of the chilling, heartbreaking subject matter, the focus is more on the interviews with the victims’ families and friends – those who loved the girls and who desperately wanted to find them.

A quick search, however, brings up other examples of the darker side of the Internet not included in the program, where women who have been taken in by the freedom and power of online advertising have fallen prey to a dangerous world.

In late 2010, Craigslist was forced to close its adults-services section, following the high-profile murder of New York City masseuse, Julissa Brisman, who advertised on the site.

The man accused of her murder, Philip Markoff, was a Boston University medical student, who was engaged to be married and ‘had a bright future ahead of him’.

But, prosecutors alleged, Markoff had a ‘very dark and sinister side’ which he unleashed through the Internet. In addition to the murder of Julissa, who was shot in a hotel room, Markoff was charged with attacking and robbing two other women. He met all three through Craigslist advertisements. Markoff took his own life in prison while awaiting trial.

In the UK, Craigslist has stopped advertising escorts for safety reasons.

And in another, ongoing case, three of four women found murdered in Detroit in December 2011 have all been linked to escort services on another website: ‘Backpage’.

Detroit police chief Ralph Godbee Jr. told a news conference that while the investigators in the Detroit murders were ‘stopping short  of calling it a serial pattern…we felt it was imperative to alert the public that decided to meet unknown persons via the Internet can be extremely dangerous.’

A police chief in Charlotte, North Carolina, has also commented that a rise in rape cases in the area is due to the growth in the online sex trade.

‘In the past, (rapists) would have to hunt and stalk,’ Sgt. Darrell Price told the Charlotte Observer. ‘Now, all you have to do is (get on the Internet), and she’s waiting for you at a hotel room.’

Stories of serial murders have always shocked the public. But these cases stem from a dark, dangerous world: a world which can be accessed by anyone, anywhere, at any time. And there can be devastating consequences.

To view the program, click here.

Source The Bureau Of Investigative Journalism

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Crunkleschwitz
Crunkleschwitz
9 years ago

The initial missing whore freaked out in the trick’s house and ran out. Her remains were founds recently in a marshy area and they suspect she got lost in the tall reeds, fell and drowned.

Theendiscoming
Theendiscoming
9 years ago

tick…tick…tick…TICK!

TRPWL
Admin
9 years ago
Reply to  Theendiscoming

Psst. Hey dummy. It’s tick tock. If your gonna pay homage to me at least quote it right. Anyway. How’s my little bitch doing today. Stil siting in the closet with the light off ? Pussy

TheEndIsComing
TheEndIsComing
9 years ago
Reply to  TRPWL

TICK…TICK…TICK…TICK…!

TRPWL
Admin
9 years ago
Reply to  TheEndIsComing

how much longer do i have to wait??

TheEndIsComing
TheEndIsComing
9 years ago

Hope you don’t mind but I’ve forwarded your personal & business information to Bill Rosendahl & Michael Weinstein!

TRPWL
Admin
9 years ago
Reply to  TheEndIsComing

Sweet, make sure you gave them my cell 210-854-3444 tell them dont block there number…tell them i look forward to hearing from them and tell them SEAN TOMPKINS says stop being corrupt pieces of shyt ..Tell them if they would like to meet face to face ill be in LA in march..anything else bitch ?

TheEndIsComing
TheEndIsComing
9 years ago
Reply to  TRPWL

It’s so the cops will know where to find you ASSHOLE!

TRPWL
Admin
9 years ago
Reply to  TheEndIsComing

Oh. Ok. But they already no how to find me. I’ve lived in the same place for years. What’s taking them so long. Lol. You dumb bitch.

crunkleschwitz
crunkleschwitz
9 years ago
Reply to  TRPWL

Quit playing dumb, you smug prick. It is obvious that when the authorities show up, you shape shift into an armadillo, to avoid subpoena and arrest. Your reptilian trickery is the only thing saving you.

TRPWL
Admin
9 years ago
Reply to  TheEndIsComing

Another day I managed to survive with out my end coming. Were did you go dick cheese ?

Anthony Kennerson
Anthony Kennerson
9 years ago

Neal?? You’re sliding pretty quickly into Fostard territory now. Give it up, please.

Anthony

TRPWL
Admin
9 years ago

I cant shape shift anymore…i ran out of the magic crystals…

Michael Whiteacre
Michael Whiteacre
9 years ago
Reply to  TRPWL

Not to worry, I’ll mine for more in my money cave.

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