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NY authorities ID slain victims, including Norwich woman

Staff and Wire Reports

Publication: theday.com

Published January 24. 2011 1:41PM   Updated January 24. 2011 4:37PM
Photo courtesy of the Suffolk County Police Dept.
In a handout photo released by Suffolk County Police, one of the bodies found near a parkway leading to Jones Beach on Long Island was identified as Maureen Brainard-Barnes of Norwich.

YAPHANK, N.Y. (AP) — A woman missing from Norwich in 2007 was identified today as one of four bodies found Dec. 13 near a parkway leading to Jones Beach on Long Island, where officials say they may be the victims of a serial killer.

Maureen Brainard-Barnes, who was born in June 1982, of 180 Prospect St. was reported missing to Norwich police on July 14, 2007. Police said the investigation at the time revealed Brainard-Barnes had gone to New York City on July 9, 2007 and was expected to return on July 10.

Suffolk County authorities today identified three bodies as women who worked as prostitutes or escorts and advertised their services online, Brainard-Barnes of Norwich, Melissa Barthelemey, of the Bronx; and Amber Lynn Costello, of North Babylon, on Long Island.

Last week, authorities identified the first of the four women as that of a missing Craigslist escort from Maine.

District Attorney Thomas Spota said the deaths may be the work of a serial killer. Initially Suffolk County police thought so, but then had backed away from the theory.

Officials say the women were believed to be killed elsewhere and dumped along the stretch.

Suffolk County police also announced today that a reward of up to $5,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest in this case. Detectives are asking anyone with information to contact the Homicide Squad at (631) 852-6392 or Crime stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.


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