48 Hours Mystery: Long Island Serial Killer

on July 13, 2011 in Pop Culture, Unsubs, Video Reviews by

48 Hours aired their heavily promoted “Long Island Serial Killer” episode last night, and it didn’t disappoint.

They gave one of the more succinct descriptions of Shannan Gilbert’s activities the night of her disappearance. In a nutshell:

Shannan Gilbert, a prostitute who advertised on Craigslist, went to a john’s house in the Oak Beach gated community of Long Island. Her driver waited for her outside.

She was scheduled for two hours, but the session ran long. That’s not unusual, as she may have just convinced the client to spend more money.

She made a 23 minute call to 911. On the call she said something along the lines of “they are going to kill me.”

At about 5:30am, Shannan arrived on the doorstep of Gus Colletti, screaming. Gus let her in, saw that she needed help, and called 911.

Gus told Shannan that the police are on the way, and suggested she should sit down to wait.

Instead, she dashed out the door.

Gus saw an Asian man in a car stopped in front of his house. The man is later identified as Shannon’s driver Michael Pak.

Shannan hid under a boat (that was in dry dock, I assume). She then ran down the street. Michael followed her, and they both disappeared.

That’s about all we know for sure.

In any case, this is not the action of a rational person. A 23 minute 911 call? That’s incredibly long, and needs more explanation.

Plus, why did she leave Gus’s house? Gus looks about as safe as someone can. He had called the police. This should have been the safety she was craving.

Unless she was in the midst of a psychotic break. The show revealed that she was bipolar, which can have psychotic features. A psychotic break could also have been caused or exacerbated by drugs.

Joseph Brewer was the john from that night. He claims he didn’t hire her for sex. In any case, after the ‘session’ was over, he says he refused to pay her. They fought, she called 911, and then she left.

Clearly, we’re not getting the whole truth, but Brewer has apparently been cleared in Shannan’s disappearance.

Shannan’s driver, Michael Pak, has also been cleared. He said he drove around for an hour, couldn’t find her, and left. The show suggested that his behavior was suspicious because he didn’t wait longer, but I don’t think so. He was waiting for someone engaging in illegal activity. You leave before the cops show.

A very strange twist is the story of retired ER doctor Peter Hackett. He’s been long reported as one of the last people to see Shannan. Shannan’s mother says that Hackett called her and said he ran a halfway house for runaways, and that her daughter had been with him the day she vanished.

Peter acknowledges making the call, but denies Shannan was with him. He just offered to help in the search, he claimed.

According to police, he has been cleared as well.

The episode also profiled the four victims of the Gilgo Beach Serial Killer who have been identified. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but when looking at the pictures of the four women, there were some similarities of facial structure. Perhaps the unsub has a type?

The episode didn’t give much info on the other five or six victims found around Gilgo Beach, but that may be because so little has been revealed.

At this point, I think it’s unlikely that Shannan Gilbert is connected to the other deaths. Other than occupation and geography, she doesn’t fit the pattern.

It seems to me she had some sort of break from reality and ran off. Perhaps she ran into the ocean and was swept away?

That’s all supposition, but due to the slow investigation by the Suffolk County police, we may never know the truth, unfortunately.

H/T to Judy Motti, who’s live blogging of the episode supplemented my notes nicely.


  • richard says:

    i think joe brewer is the killer.if shannan was in danger before,she called 911 soon she went to joe brewer home.no she called after..i would check other homes he live at for items other dead bodies…even the walls of the homes..

  • fred says:

    i agree joe brewer sounds like a killer..she was scared after she left,but joe couldn’t kill her,she had driver.i be checking into joe brewer again..nut case..

  • ter says:

    since she at joe brewer that late.sounds like he is the killer.then she upset and ran off,he probably went back and killed her later on..

    • Brian Combs says:

      I rather doubt it’s Brewer. The cops have taken his life apart, and they’d love to pin it on him to get all this closed, but they’ve ruled him out. I suspect there’s a good reason for this.

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