New Yorker who led crusade to find daughter's killer found murdered

Official: We Are Closer Than Ever To Finding Long Island Serial Killer

NEW YORK, July 24 (Reuters) - A New York woman who helped lead an unsuccessful crusade to capture her daughter's suspected murderer, believed to be a serial killer, was found slain in her upstate apartment, law enforcement officials said.

Police in Ellenville, a town in the Catskills Mountains north of New York City, said they identified the deceased woman as Mari Gilbert, 52. She was found dead on Saturday afternoon.

A second daughter, Sarra Gilbert, 27, was arrested shortly after the discovery and charged with her mother's murder and a weapons charge, police said in a statement.

See photos of Mari and her crusade to find her daughter's killer:

Shannan Gilbert's mother found dead
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Shannan Gilbert's mother found dead
Articles about the recent discovery of bodies near a Long Island, New York beach as seen in April 6 issues of Newsday and the New York Post newspapers April 7, 2011 in New York. Four bodies recently found near the town of Gilgo Beach on Long Island, about 45 miles (72 km) from New York city, brings the count to eight bodies discovered in the area, including four last December, leading authorities to speculate there is a serial killer at work. The name Shannan refers to prostitute Shannan Gilbert of Jersey City, New Jersey whose disappearance started the search by local officials that led to the discovery of the bodies. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

It was not immediately clear how the elder Gilbert was killed or what might have motivated the attack. Police said they would release more details on Monday.

Both Mari and Sarra Gilbert helped in the high-profile campaign to catch the so-called Gilgo Killer, who family and privately-hired investigators suspect murdered Shannan Gilbert, 24.

Shannon Gilbert, a sex-worker who found clients on Craigslist, disappeared in May 2010 after leaving the home of a client near Long Island's Gilgo Beach. Nearly a dozen bodies linked to the same murderer were later found as authorities searched the beach for Shannon Gilbert's remains.

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Most of the victims were female sex workers. But the body of a toddler belonging to one of the women and a man dressed as a woman were also found, local media reported.

Shannon's remains were found more than a year after her disappearance. Local investigators were unable to determine a cause of her death because some of her body parts were missing.

Unsatisfied with the work of the Suffolk County Police Department, Gilbert's mother made television appearances calling on the Federal Bureau of Investigation to take over the investigation, but she was unsuccessful.

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