New York's most prolific known serial killer offered some theories about the identity of the state's most recent serial killer today, as news broke that the culprit had reportedly confessed to the murder of Melissa Barthelemy in a phone conversation with her sister.
In a jailhouse interview, Joel Rifkin, who confessed to killing 17 women in the early 1990s, told two Newsday reporters that, contrary to a suggestion yesterday by police, he had nothing to do with the remains found on remote Gilgo Beach (pictured). The culprit, he said would likely be someone who could go unnoticed while carrying burlap bags — eight of the ten bodies found were wrapped in burlap.
"My guess is it would be someone like a landscaper, contractor or a fisherman," Rifkin told Jeremiah Papineau and Victor Ramo. He sided with cops in suggesting that the four sets of remains found in December and the six sets found since then were likely the work of two different killers.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reported that the killer had been a lot more specific than previously thought when he called Barthelemy's sister, Amanda, in August, 2009. Amanda and Melissa's mother, Lynn Barthelemy, said she had been purposefully vague with reporters at first because police had urged her to keep quiet so that they could, at some point, interview suspects about the calls.
“He kept us hopeful,” she said at the time. But in an interview on Wednesday, she said the man’s last call — which occurred at about 1 a.m. on Aug. 26, 2009, and lasted about 40 seconds — had confirmed the family’s worst fears.
“In the final call, he said he had killed her,” Lynn Barthelemy, who lives in the Buffalo area, said....
A person with knowledge of the call said that the caller had taunted Amanda, asking the teenager, “Do you think you’ll ever speak to her again?”
Obviously not. Meanwhile, the search continues, with the F.B.I. making flyovers of the Gilgo beach area and divers combing the waters. Stay tuned.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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