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MINEOLA, N.Y. – A new DNA analysis has given more clues to detectives investigating a suspected string of serial killings on Long Island.
The analysis, posted on a federal database this week, shows that a torso found stuffed inside a rubber bin at a state park in 1997 belongs to the same female victim whose skeletal remains were discovered, along with the remains of her young child, many miles away near a Long Island beach highway in 2011.
The link between the body in the park and the so-called Gilgo Beach serial killer case is the first development in the vexing murder mystery in years. As they have been for years, police on Wednesday remained mum about the investigation.
It was six years ago this week that a K-9 officer and his cadaver dog on a training mission searching for a missing New Jersey prostitute happened upon what would become the first of 11 sets of human remains.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Justice Department's Missing and Unidentified Persons Systems records were updated to show DNA links a woman's torso found in Long Island's Hempstead Lake State Park in 1997 to the same female remains found along Ocean Parkway in April 2011.
The DNA also linked the woman's remains to a toddler found several miles down the parkway.
Neither the woman's nor the child's remains have been identified. Three other sets of remains in the case also remain unidentified.
Human remains of eight women, a man and the toddler were found strewn along several miles of thicket adjacent to the parkway.
The remains of the missing prostitute the K-9 officer was searching for were found several miles away near a private beach community a year after the first discovery of bodies in 2010, but police insist her death is not connected to the others.
Police on eastern Long Island suspect one or more killers are responsible for the spree that began more than 20 years ago. No suspects have ever been formally identified in the deaths of the 11 people, some of whom worked in the sex industry.
The woman whose torso was found in Hempstead park had been nicknamed "Peaches" by investigators because of a large heart-shaped peach tattoo she had on her chest. The torso was discovered stuffed in a plastic tub, covered by garbage bags.
Acting Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter, whose department is investigating the Peaches case, declined to comment on the latest development.
Last year, Suffolk County Police Commissioner Tim Sini said the FBI would be joining the investigation and agents were working to develop a profile of a possible suspect. The FBI previously assisted with a search for victims shortly after the bodies were found but had not directly participated in the investigation until last year, Sini has said.
A spokesman for Sini didn't immediately comment Wednesday.