New York (CNN) — The remains of three additional people were discovered Monday morning near Gilgo Beach on Long Island, according to Richard Dormer, Suffolk County Police commissioner.
A total of eight human remains have been found in the area since a missing New Jersey woman prompted the searches beginning in 2010.
Shannan Gilbert, 24, of Jersey City, New Jersey, has been missing since May 1 and was last seen alive in the Gilgo Beach area. As authorities searched for clues about her disappearance last year, they uncovered the bodies of four prostitutes in various stages of decomposition.
Police say the hunt for a potential serial killer continues, as does the search for Gilbert, who, like the women whose bodies have been found, advertised for prostitution services on such sites as Craigslist.
An additional body was found March 29 off Ocean Parkway, west of Cedar Beach. When medical examination determined they were not Gilbert’s remains, the police continued to search, leading to Monday’s discovery.
Gilbert’s family is being asked to identify whether the remains found Monday are those of their missing daughter, Dormer said.
“We should move forward to find out quickly if it’s her or not her. We put a priority on identification,” Dormer said.
“We haven’t given up on the search for Shannan Gilbert,” Dormer said, “just in case the remains we discovered today are not hers.”
Gilbert’s sister, Sheree Gilbert, told HLN’s Nancy Grace Monday night that her family was notified about the discovery of the latest bodies Monday afternoon. Authorities told them that DNA testing to determine identities will be done “as soon as possible,” she said.
“We’re just hoping and praying that it’s not her,” she added.
The initial four bodies were discovered stuffed into bushes on a quarter-mile stretch of waterfront property on Oak Beach, indicating “they were dumped there by the same person or persons,” Dormer said in December. “It’s too coincidental that there were four bodies in the same location.”
The remains of the fifth body were found about a mile from where the other corpses were discovered, he said, refusing to disclose exactly where the three additional remains were found on Monday.
Of the first remains found, all four women had advertised for prostitution services on the Craigslist website, with one body having been there for as long as two years, police said.
The highway is closed Monday night with officers on guard from the Causeway to Nassau County Line so the search can resume Tuesday, Dormer said.
“The investigation is going to move forward over the next hours, and into tomorrow,” days and weeks ahead, Dormer said.