Ex-police chief may be linked to string of unsolved murders

OAK BEACH, N.Y. (WPIX) — Suffolk County's disgraced former Police Chief James Burke, long suspected of keeping the FBI in the dark about the Gilgo Beach murders, faces a new accusation from a sex worker who says there's a link between him and the killings, an attorney for one of the slain victims said Thursday.

It's been six years since the killings began, with no suspect and no one in custody. Now, the attorney for the victim Shannan Gilbert family says there's a connection between Burke, prostitutes and Gilgo Beach.

"This is the first time that there has been an actual connection made between former chief police Burke, Oak Beach and prostitution. ... And that's why it is significant," attorney John Ray said at an afternoon press conference, alongside the sex worker.

The escort, who according to an affidavit has been in the profession for five years, discussed multiple times she said she partied with Burke in 2011 at an unknown Oak Beach home and engaged in "rough sex."

Numerous people, prostitutes, and drugs, including cocaine, were at the gatherings, she said.

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Gilgo Beach murders
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Gilgo Beach murders
WANTAGH, NY - APRIL 15: An aerial view of the area near Gilgo Beach and Ocean Parkway on Long Island where police have been conducting a prolonged search after finding ten sets of human remains on April 15, 2011 in Wantagh, New York. Of the ten only four sets of remains have been identified as missing female prostitutes in their 20s who had been working in the online escort business. Police, working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), suspect that a single serial killer may be in the New York area focusing on sex workers. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
WANTAGH, NY - APRIL 15: An aerial view of police cars near where a body was discovered in the area near Gilgo Beach and Ocean Parkway on Long Island on April 15, 2011 in Wantagh, New York. Police have been conducting a prolonged search of the area after finding ten sets of human remains. Of the ten only four sets of remains have been identified as missing female prostitutes in their 20s who had been working in the online escort business. Police, working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), suspect that a single serial killer may be in the New York area focusing on sex workers. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
WANTAGH, NY - APRIL 15: An aerial view of the area near Gilgo Beach and Ocean Parkway on Long Island where police have been conducting a prolonged search after finding ten sets of human remains on April 15, 2011 in Wantagh, New York. Of the ten only four sets of remains have been identified as missing female prostitutes in their 20s who had been working in the online escort business. Police, working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), suspect that a single serial killer may be in the New York area focusing on sex workers. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
WANTAGH, NY - APRIL 15: An aerial view of the area near Gilgo Beach and Ocean Parkway on Long Island where police have been conducting a prolonged search after finding ten sets of human remains on April 15, 2011 in Wantagh, New York. Of the ten only four sets of remains have been identified as missing female prostitutes in their 20s who had been working in the online escort business. Police, working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), suspect that a single serial killer may be in the New York area focusing on sex workers. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
WANTAGH, NY - APRIL 15: An aerial view of police cars near where a body was discovered in the area near Gilgo Beach and Ocean Parkway on Long Island on April 15, 2011 in Wantagh, New York. Police have been conducting a prolonged search of the area after finding ten sets of human remains. Of the ten only four sets of remains have been identified as missing female prostitutes in their 20s who had been working in the online escort business. Police, working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), suspect that a single serial killer may be in the New York area focusing on sex workers. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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)
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 Daily News newspapers on 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 disappearance of prostitute Shannan Gilbert of Jersey City, New Jersey 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)
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When asked about the significance of the claims, Ray pointed to what he described as an unusual act for any officer.

"Under those circumstances, a high police official from Suffolk County goes and parties in Oak Beach itself with drugs and with prostitution. That suggests an arrogance and a certainty in his mind that he could pretty much do whatever he wanted with regard to that investigation ... That itself is pretty outrageous," the lawyer said.

The Long Island escort gave a sworn statement previous to Thursday, and is willing to take a lie detector test, Ray said.

While the statements are not a "smoking gun" directly showing Burke is a killer, Ray described it as "very strong circumstantial evidence."

The first body was found in December 2010. Police were looking for Shannan Gilbert, a sex worker, who has disappeared near Oak Beach after running from a client's home. Gilbert wouldn't be discovered until 2011, but a total of 10 bodies would be found in and around Gilgo Beach. And there may be other cases connected to what is believed to be the work of a serial killer.

As the years dragged on, Burke was accused of keeping the FBI out of the loop.

However, any link between Burke and the Gilgo Beach murders is unclear. Burke was recently sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for planning a cover-up after he beat up a man who stole sex toys and other items from his car.

Separately, the Associated Press reported Wednesday new DNA evidence has been discovered in the investigation.

A torso found inside a rubber bin back in 1997 was linked this week through a Justice Department database to a female victim whose body parts were found "many miles away" along a Long Island beach highway in 2011, according to the AP.

The woman's body parts were located along with that of her child.

This new link is the first development in the cold case in years, the AP reports.

PIX11's Ashley Soley-Cerro and James Ford contributed to this report.

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Notable cold cases and unsolved murders throughout history
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Notable cold cases and unsolved murders throughout history

In June 1893 Lizzie Borden stood trial, later acquitted, for killing her father and stepmother with an ax.

(Photo via Bettmann/Getty Images)

Foreboding Kingsbury Run, shunned by the timid as the legend of its murders has grown, is indicated on this map by dots locating 10 of the 11 torso murders which have occurred there since Sept. 23, 1935. Police, delving into the lives of the mad murderer's victims, hope to uncover clues which will end the periodic killings. Discovery of photo negatives in the belongings of Edward Andra Ssy, first victim, show Andra Ssy in a strange room which, if identified, may provide a live lead, police believe. As the map shows, the murderer departed only twice from his custom of assailing victims in Kingsbury Run or adjacent Cuyahoga river valley.

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

Bucks Row, now Durward Street, east London, where the body of Mary Ann Nichols, victim of Jack the Ripper, was found lying across the gutter.

(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Head shot of aspiring actress Elizabeth Short, a murder victim nicknamed the Black Dahlia. 

(Photo via Bettmann/Getty Images)

Daily News front page dated June, 16, 1990, Headline: IS HE THE ZODIAC?, Police sketch of man who approached latest victim in Central Park last Thursday and asked him his birth date., June 26, 1990 . , Zodiac Killer. , Heriberto Seda. Headlines. IS HE THE ZODIAC ?

(Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

U.S. labor leader Jimmy Hoffa is photographed at the Greater Pittsburgh Airport, Pennsylvania in this April 12, 1971 file photograph. Hoffa was switching planes from San Francisco, and was returning to the federal prison in Allenwood, Pennsylvania. Hoffa was let out of prison to visit his wife, who had been hospitalized with heart problems. FBI teams on May 25, 2006 sifted by hand through dirt from a chest-deep hole in the ground in an intense search for the body of Jimmy Hoffa three decades after his disappearance. Hoffa was last seen outside a Detroit-area restaurant where he was to meet New Jersey Teamsters' boss Anthony "Tony Pro" Provenzano, a member of the Genovese crime family, and a local Mafia captain, Anthony "Tony Jack" Giacalone. Hoffa was declared dead in 1982, and numerous books about his life have pinned his disappearance on mobsters who murdered him because they did not want him interfering with their close ties to the union.

(REUTERS/Jerry Siskind)

 The site where 6 year old JonBenet Ramsey was killed in Boulder, Colorado, 1996.

(Photo by Karl Gehring/Liaison)

Black car in which rapper Tupac Shakur was fatally shot by unknown driveby assassins as he was riding w. friend Death Row records. pres. Marion Suge Knight, who survived shooting, behind police tape at crime scene (Photo by Malcolm Payne/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Police detectives released this composite drawing March 27 of the man they believe killed rap star Notorious B.I.G. in Los Angeles recently. The suspect, a black man in his early 20's with close-cropped hair, was wearing a bow-tie the night of the drive-by killing. Investigators have set up a toll free number for the public to call with any information about the suspect. NOTORIOUS BIG
Donna Norris poses next to a photo of her daughter Amber Hagerman, January 4, 2011, who was kidnapped 15 years ago while riding a bicycle near Norris mother's home in Arlington, Texas on January 13, 1996. (Richard W. Rodriguez/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images)
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