NYPD Officer Last to Contact Murder Victim, Sources Say
By Murray Weiss
DNAinfo Contributing Columnist
MANHATTAN — A Connecticut call girl killed by a Long Island serial killer who found her through Craigslist was contacted by an NYPD officer shortly before her death, DNAinfo has learned.
The revelation comes as the probe into the discovery of eight sets of human remains in Gilgo Beach continues to puzzle investigators.
Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 25, of Norwich, CT., was last seen at a 46th Street hotel.
When Brainard-Barnes disappeared in 2007, Connecticut detectives came to Manhattan and went through her computer.
What they discovered was that the officer, who lived on Staten Island, was one of the last people to contact her through Craigslist.
The details of their conversation were not immediately known.
When the bodies of Brainard-Barnes and the three other hookers surfaced on the South Shore of Long Island last December, cops turned their attention to the NYPD officer.
Sources said that he was placed on modified duty and eyed as a suspect in the grisly and mysterious slayings.
Ultimately, however, he was cleared.
Investigators have said that the killer or killers in the case appear to be well-versed in police techniques, according to the New York Times.
This includes the use of disposable cell phones.
Another victim with a Manhattan connection, Melissa Barthelemy, 24, of The Bronx, disappeared after meeting a client in July 2009.
In the wake of her disappearance, Barthelemy’s sister received a series of taunting phone calls from her sister’s phone that came from the Madison Square Garden and Times Square areas.
Brainard-Barnes was the first to vanish of the four women whose bodies were discovered on the isolated Suffolk County beach. She made a trip to the city and never returned.
All four were strangled.
The latest victim to be identified is Jessica Taylor, 20, whose death is not believed to be related to the four original women.
She was last seen near the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Taylor’s torso was discovered by hunters in the woods of Manorville, LI, in 2000.
Her head, hands and leg were then discovered in a bag along the same road as the others, but the condition of her body led investigators to believe that she was not killed by the same person.
Cops now suspect several killers in the case.