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Gilgo Beach murders update: Police release new photos of belt handled by suspect

New photos of belt tied to suspect in Gilgo Beach murders
Posted at 12:37 PM, Dec 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-08 12:37:25-05

LONG ISLAND, N.Y. — Police on Long Island have released two new photos of a belt believed to be tied to a possible suspect in the decade-old unsolved Gilgo Beach homicide investigations.

One of the new images put out by the Suffolk County Police Department shows the worn, black leather side of the belt's end. The second photo shows the reverse side of the belt's end with the embossed initials "HM" or "WH."

Officials initially revealed the belt's existence as a "previously undisclosed piece of evidence," almost a year ago in January, along with two close-up photos of the letters.

"We believe the belt was handled by the suspect," SCPD Commissioner Geraldine Hart said at the time, adding that it was recovered at one of the crime scenes during the initial stages of the investigation.

Both sets of photos were posted by authorities on Gilgonews.com, a website launched in January to help provide the public with developments, as well as in hopes of generating new tips or leads in the cases.

Gilgo Beach evidence
Suffolk County police released "previously undisclosed" evidence in connection to the unsolved Gilgo Beach homicides.

The remains of least 10 bodies were discovered in the underbrush along a three-mile stretch of Ocean Parkway near Gilgo Beach, between December 2010 and April 2011.

The police search that led to the discovery of the bodies was sparked by the May 2010 disappearance of Shannan Gilbert.

Gilbert, a sex worker, called 911 at length the night she vanished after leaving the home of an alleged client in the area.

A judge ordered the release of the long-sealed 911 call in November 2018. A recording or transcript of the call have yet to be released due to legal appeals.

Police announced in May they had identified one of the case's Jane Does as 24-year-old Valerie Mack, the victim of a 2000 murder.

Gilgo Beach victim identified 20 years after disappearance

Mack was believed to have been working as an escort in the Philadelphia area 20 years ago.

Jane Doe #6, as Mack was previously known, was the sixth victim discovered along Ocean Parkway in 2011.

The Long Island FBI used public genealogy sites to connect the victim’s DNA with possible relatives in New Jersey, eventually leading to her identification.