Thursday 14 November 2019

NY 'Ripper' will be caught, vows Irish-born police chief

Richard Dormer, centre, believes more bodies could be found
Richard Dormer, centre, believes more bodies could be found

Louise Hogan

AN IRISH-born police commissioner heading the hunt for a serial killer dubbed the 'Long Island Jack the Ripper' insisted yesterday that the murderer would be caught.

And Richard Dormer (71), originally from Crettyard, Co Laois, believes technology holds the clues to the gruesome mystery after a total of eight bodies were discovered in scrub in the Long Island, New York, area.

Detectives believe a killer may have dumped the bodies in the undergrowth surrounding beaches in the area, which is around 70km east of New York. All four of the skeletal remains so far identified were prostitutes who advertised online on the Craigslist website.

This has led to comparisons with 'Jack the Ripper', who typically targeted prostitutes in London's slums during the late 19th Century.

"Computers and cell phones are what people communicate with today. That is what will track down this serial killer," Suffolk County Police Commissioner Dormer said yesterday. "If the guy made a mistake we'll find it."

Forensic anthropologists are working to identify the last four remains found last week.

"It is very difficult as the remains have been out there for some time," Mr Dormer explained. "The ones identified -- and Shannan Gilbert the missing girl -- were all involved in the prostitution and escort business."

The FBI behavioural analysis unit, crime scene investigation section, homicide squad and computer experts have been called in. Mr Dormer said he would not be surprised if more bodies were found as officers and cadaver dogs search dense brush.

Over the weekend the 'New York Times' carried a report quoting an unnamed source suggesting that the suspect could once have had connections to the police.


The fact that the caller continually evaded the police by keeping his conversations under three minutes, and that he made the calls from crowded areas, preventing detectives from pinpointing his location via surveillance cameras, helped build the suspicion that the killer could be an active, or former, law-enforcement officer, the paper claimed.

Mr Dormer said this is the biggest case he's ever been in charge of since he became a US police officer after leaving Ireland in 1958.

"I've seen just about everything. This is the biggest case I've ever handled, the eight bodies found in the area near Jones Beach. It's a massive investigation," he said.

Mr Dormer had to wait five years after arriving in the US to gain citizenship before fulfiling his dream of becoming a police officer. He retired as a three-star police chief in 1993, before returning to head the second-largest county police department in the US with 3,600 workers.

The father of five said he keeps in close contact with his sister Bridget Condren, brother Frank Dormer and his aunt Kathleen, who still live in Crettyard.

Irish Independent

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