Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Three more bodies linked to serial killer

The number of victims of a suspected serial killer on New York's Long Island has reached eight this week with the discovery of three more corpses near a beach highway.

The remains of all the victims have now been found just steps from Ocean Parkway, a highway leading to the popular Jones Beach, about 45 miles east of New York City.

The bodies of four missing prostitutes were found in December while investigators were searching for another missing woman who worked as an escort girl and was last seen in the area nearly a year ago. The disappearance of that woman, Shannan Gilbert of Jersey City, New Jersey, remains a mystery

Last week, investigators found a fifth body about a mile east of where the first four were located. That discovery prompted police to resume a widespread search of a seven-mile stretch of the north side of the highway and that yielded the remains of three additional victims spread about 500m apart.

The identities of the latest three victims have not been released and police have yet to give even their sex. The New York City medical examiner's office is assisting Suffolk County in identifying the bodies. The fifth body was not that of Ms Gilbert.

"We still believe that Shannan Gilbert is in this area," Suffolk's Chief of Detectives Dominick Varrone told reporters this week.

Ms Gilbert, 24, was last seen in Oak Beach on 1 May 2010 after apparently arranging to meet a client who had booked her through the Craigslist website. Oak Beach is near Ocean Parkway. The first four bodies were of women in their twenties who had worked as prostitutes via Craigslist.

A resident told authorities a woman thought to be Ms Gilbert came to his door around 4.45am, pleading for help. But when he tried to call the police, she fled.