MILLER PLACE - The family of Shannan Gilbert released the results of an independent autopsy that says she may have died of strangulation.
Gilbert's body was found in 2011, a year and a half after she vanished from a home in Oak Beach. Suffolk police have said Gilbert's death was accidental and not connected to the 10 other bodies found along Ocean Parkway near Gilgo Beach.
"Shannan was strangled to death, just like the other four found along Ocean Parkway in Oak Beach, who were clearly strangled as well," said family attorney John Ray.
The new autopsy was conducted in 2015 by Dr. Michael Baden, the former New York City chief medical examiner. Ray showed reporters a letter in which Baden discusses his findings, saying, "There is no evidence she died of a natural disease, of a drug overdose or of drowning." He goes on to say that "there is insufficient information to determine a definite cause of death, but the autopsy findings are consistent with homicidal strangulation."
The original autopsy was done by the Suffolk County medical examiner shortly after Gilbert's remains were found. It found no evidence of drugs and found the cause and manner of death were "undetermined."
Ray said that he had reached out to Suffolk police to share his findings and was rejected. In a statement, Suffolk Police Commissioner Tim Sini said Dr. Baden's letter provided no additional information and concludes that there is insufficient information to determine a definite cause of death.
Sini went on to say that the Suffolk Police Department is doing everything it can to solve the Gilgo Beach homicides and that is why they've recently partnered with the FBI.