Headless Body Found on East Hampton Beach Not Likely the Result of Foul Play, say Police

Posted on 25 May 2011

Heller__EHTPD Dive Team at Barnes Landing_3039

The Suffolk County Medical Examiners Office has determined that a headless body discovered at an Amagansett beach on Sunday is that of a 20-to-30 year old unidentified male, according to East Hampton Town Police Chief Ed Ecker.

On Tuesday, Chief Ecker said that results of the medical examiner’s preliminary autopsy showed “no obvious signs of trauma,” like broken bones or gun shot wounds and that the body was likely headless due to the extreme state of decomposition.

According to Chief Ecker, on Sunday a local man discovered the body while walking his dogs on the beach between Big Albert’s Landing Beach and Bell Estate. The body, which was on the surf line, was so badly decomposed on Monday Chief Ecker said he was unable to determine whether it was a male or female.

“It was in very advanced stages of decomposition,” he said. “I would say it had been in the water for quite some time, possibly even through the winter.”

After police were contacted, the department’s dive team searched nearby waters for the missing skull, which has not yet been found, as well as for other evidence in the case.

In addition to missing a head, the body was also without a left leg from the knee down, said Ecker, and was missing a finger, which was recovered during the dive team’s search of Gardiner’s Bay.

On Monday, the body was removed to the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s Office.

While there was speculation that the case could be connected to a possible serial killer on Long Island – about 100 miles west of East Hampton 10 sets of bodies have been recovered alongside a highway near Jones Beach – on Monday, Chief Ecker said while he did not want to speculate until after the medical examiner issued a report, he believed a connection to the Gilgo Beach cases was not likely.

“It was certainly something we looked into as a part of our investigation,” he added, noting the department has been working with the Suffolk County Police Department on the case.

Now that the medical examiner’s office has released its preliminary findings, Ecker said his department will be focused on working with other police departments around the Long Island Sound basin, as well as the United States Coast Guard, to see if anyone has been reported missing.

The male body was of an unidentified ethnicity, said Chief Ecker, but the person was believed to be slight in stature.

“We are collecting any missing person reports from the area, which is quite large,” he said on Tuesday. “We are looking at the whole Long Island Sound basin area.”

The East Hampton Town Police Department has asked that anyone who has information about missing persons in the area contact the town’s detective division at 631-537-7575.

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