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Forensic pathologist and Fox News contributor Dr. Michael Baden explains his findings. A sex worker who vanished in and whose remains were later found at a remote beach highway in New York -- revealed to be the dumping ground of a suspected serial killer -- may have died from strangulation, according to a new autopsy released Friday. Shannan Gilbert, 23, of Jersey City, N. A months-long search for her first led to the bodies of four other prostitutes, each strangled and stuffed in burlap bags along Ocean Parkway, a mile road that spans Jones Beach, roughly a mile from where detectives would later find Gilbert's body, in December A total of 11 sets of human remains -- including those of a toddler -- were found at the scene.
After the discovery of Gilbert's remains, the Suffolk County medical examiner ruled her cause of death "undetermined," and police theorized she drowned while running through a marsh in a drug-induced state -- calling her death unrelated to the four victims of a suspected serial killer. John Ray, an attorney for the Gilbert family, said Friday that an independent autopsy conducted by noted forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden suggests that Shannan Gilbert may have been strangled.
Baden said the evidence was consistent with homicidal strangulation, but it was insufficient to release an official cause of death. Police Commissioner Timothy Sini said in a statement Friday that detectives are waiting to review Baden's findings.
Sini announced in December that the department has brought in FBI investigators to assist local detectives with the probe. In March , Baden told FoxNews. He conducted further testing on the bone and was preparing to pore over medical examiner photos and X-rays for analysis. A fracture to the hyoid bone is a hallmark sign of a strangulation.
Gilbert was strangled to death by neck compression. No drugs were found in Gilbert's body, according to toxicology reports cited in the autopsy -- a finding at odds with the police theory that Gilbert ran off into the night in a drug-fueled frenzy. Gilbert's thyroid cartilage was missing from the remains Baden examined, but the original examination does not report it as missing, Baden said. And a small, circular hole was found in the center of the hyoid bone, a marking Baden called unusual and warranting further analysis.