A new victim has been identified in the Gilgo Beach murders after police were able to determine her identity through a relative on a genealogy website. Suffolk County police have identified the remains as Valerie Mack.
Mack had been identified as Jane Doe for numerous years after her body was found along Ocean Parkway near Gilgo Beach on Long Island.
Mack, who was reportedly an escort from Philadelphia, went missing in 2000 when she was 24 years old. Mack’s murder, which remains unsolved, is thought to be the work of serial killer with murders dating back as far as 1995 in Long Island. Four of the ten victims who whose bodies were found along the Long Island waterfront were sex workers, police said.
Some of Mack’s remains were found by police in 2000 in a wooded area in Manorville, Long Island, but in 2011, more of her remains were found near Gilgo Beach.
Police said they found Mack's biological relatives’ on-file genetic material through a public genealogy site and it led them to an aunt of Valerie’s. Through her aunt, police were led to Mack’s adoptive family and her son, who is now in his 20's. His DNA tested positive as a match to Valerie’s DNA last week, according to Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said at a press conference Thursday.
Mack, who was orphaned as a child, was never reported missing and it is unclear why. Mack is the second victim whose remains were found in Manorville and Gilgo Beach.
The remains of Jessica Taylor, a 20-year-old sex worker, were found in both places as well. This is the first time in New York that police have used a genealogy website to breathe new life into a cold case.
“For two decades, Valerie Mack’s family and friends were left searching for answers and while this is not the outcome they wanted, we hope this brings some sense of peace and closure,” Hart said. “We will continue to use every investigative tool available to aggressively investigate these murders.”