True Crime Researchers
Status: Open

Maureen Brainard-Barnes

Last Seen:July 09, 2007
Discovered:December 11, 2010
Date of Birth:June 14, 1982
Age at the Time:23
Maureen was a young mother, with dreams of being a songwriter. Her family and friends lovingly remember her as “a dreamer, an artist, and a romantic.” Trying to provide for her family led her to sex work, where she met a killer.

Melissa Barthelemy

Last Seen:July 12, 2009
Discovered:December 13, 2010
Date of Birth:April 14, 1985
Age at the Time:24
Melissa’s family shares stories of her strong will, which brought her to the Bronx, escaping the Buffalo suburbs. She originally moved to become a hairdresser and eventually became a sex worker. On July 10, 2009, she deposited $900 in her account and disappeared. Her sister received horrible phone calls about her, from a stranger, for months afterward.

Megan Amelia Waterman

Last Seen:June 10, 2010
Discovered:December 13, 2010
Date of Birth:January 18, 1988
Age at the Time:22
Stories of Megan make it clear that she was a force to be reckoned with, much like her mother. Minimal opportunities in Maine and her desire to provide for her daughter led her to sex work. She was staying in a hotel in Hauppage, New York when a client outmatched her, and she didn’t make it back to her daughter.

Amber Lynn Costello

Last Seen:September 02, 2010
Discovered:December 13, 2010
Date of Birth:February 10, 1983
Age at the Time:27
Amber was known for her desire to connect with people, to love and be loved. A horrible incident in her youth and tough early life in North Carolina led her to regular heroin use. An early start in sex work eventually led her to New York, where she took her last client, who was offering $1500 for her services.

The Gilgo Four is a collective name for the four young women who were found buried on Gilgo Beach. All four were in burlap and were separated by an eerily similar distance.

This case is focused on four young victims, but sadly there are others in the immediate area. There's Shannan Gilbert, whose disappearance led to the discovery of the Gilgo four. There are also six others within a few miles along the same roadway. Whether or not they are connected is heavily debated, but the most important part is sharing their information to find the killer of any of them.

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers has a phone number 1-800-220-TIPS (8477) and an online tip submission.


  1. Maureen Brainard-Barnes goes missing

    While she had been out of sex work for a few months, it's reported that she needed to make some money and was going to spend the day in NYC.

  2. Melissa Barthelemy goes missing

    It is reported that she met with a client and deposited $900 in her account. A week after she went missing, her sister Amanda started receiving calls from a man using Melissa's phone.

  3. Shannan Gilbert calls 911

    In a case that is debatably related, Shannan ran from a home in Oak Beach, calling 911. Searches for her led to discoveries in this case.

  4. Megan Waterman goes missing

    She had been staying in a motel in Hauppage and placing ads on Craigslist.

  5. Amber Costello goes missing

    She was picked up by her last client near the house where she was staying, which continues to haunt her friend Dave. He feels he could've walked a little further and seen a license plate or the client.

  6. Police find remains near Gilgo Beach

    The circumstances behind the search are reported differently, but a cadaver dog hits on remains along Gilgo Beach. It is later determined to be Melissa Barthelemy.

  7. Police find three more bodies

    Maureen Brainard-Barnes, Megan Waterman, and Amber Lynn Costello are found. The four girls were all in burlap sacks and arranged in the same way.

Places of Interest


Last known location of Maureen Brainard-Barnes

She and her and her friend Sara had been staying at the Super 8 Midtown and seeing clients over the weekend. Sara left on Monday (July 9, 2010), but Maureen said that we should stay until Wednesday (July 11, 2010).


Melissa Barthelemy was last seen on her porch

She had deposited money earlier in the day and had phoned Blaze to say that she had a client lined up for that night, in Long Island.


Megan Waterman was last seen walking from a hotel

Vidoe shows her and Vybe, early on the night of June 4, 2010. She spent some time alone in the hotel talking with family members on the phone and posting Craigslist ads, leaving around 1:30 a.m.


Dave Schaller walks Amber most of the way to a client

In a moment that has haunted him since, Dave walked Amber partially to the car of a client pickup, down the street from his house. (Amber and others lived there as well. )


Maureen's remains

Her remains were skeletal and wrapped in burlap.


Melissa's remains

She was partially decomposed and wrapped in burlap.


Megan's remains

She was partially decomposed and wrapped in burlap.


Amber's remains

Her remains were skeletal and wrapped in burlap.

Persons of Interest

John Bittrolff

John was convicted of two murders in 2017 and he is a suspect in a third. Suffolk authorities have named him as a suspect in the victims found on Gilgo beach.


Who is the Long Island Serial Killer?

An overview of the case details.

Gilgo Beach Murders Update, Part One

Part one of a news conference, featuring Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart.

Gilgo Beach Murders Update, Part Two

Part two, featuring Suffolk District Attorney Timothy Seeney and Q&A.


True Crime Garage

Long Island Serial Killer ////// 04

1 hour, 3 minutes

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True Crime Garage

Long Island Serial Killer ////// 05

1 hour, 10 minutes

Thinking Sideways

Long Island Serial Killer

1 hour, 36 minutes


Related Cases

Shannan Gilbert was yelling “They’re going to kill me” as she ran through an Oak Beach community, a little before 5 a.m., in May 2010. Her remains were found over a year later. View the case

Long Island has had many victims in the past few decades and at least two convicted serial killers. A series of victims, found in Manorville and Gilgo Beach are unsolved and may be related. View the case