The mother of a New Jersey escort whose 2010 disappearance led to the discovery of 10 bodies on Long Island was allegedly stabbed to death by her other daughter, a mentally ill 27-year-old who said she was hearing voices, police and an attorney for the family say.
Police responding to the Ellenville home of Mari Gilbert, 52, Saturday afternoon after a family member requested a welfare check saw Gilbert's body through the window, authorities say. When they went inside, they saw her schizophrenic daughter, Sarra Gilbert, with blood on her clothing, police said.
Sarra Gilbert was charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon, according to police. A weapon was recovered at the scene.
John Ray, an attorney who has represented the family in their quest to find answers in the death of Sarra Gilbert's older sister Shannan Gilbert, whose disappearance on 2010 in Oak Beach prompted a search that would lead to a serial killer mystery, said Sarra Gilbert is sick and not mentally competent.
Ray said Sarra Gilbert went to her mother's home Saturday because she was hallucinating, and Mari Gilbert "died while trying to help her mentally ill daughter." Ray, who is not formally representing Sarra Gilbert in the murder case at this time, said he would request a psychiatric review from the court.
Sarra Gilbert had been hospitalized several times in the last year for her condition and had not been taking her medicine, Ray said.
Sarra Gilbert is due to appear in court Tuesday for a preliminary hearing.
Sarra Gilbert's sister Shannan was the 24-year-old escort whose disappearance six years ago sparked a massive search that led to the discovery of 10 sets of human remains believed to be linked to at least one serial killer.
Shannan Gilbert was last seen screaming and running from a home in the Oak Beach complex, where she met her client. Before she disappeared, she called 911 from a client's home and told an operator someone was trying to kill her.
Gilbert's remains were found in December of 2011 on Gilgo Beach. The search for Gilbert led to the grim discovery of 10 sets of remains, nine of which belonged to prostitutes, authorities said. Another set of remains were found to be a baby girl. Five of them, including the infant, have not been identified.
Police have said that Gilbert's death isn't linked to the other bodies and that she drowned in the marsh where she was found. Her family, including her mother Mari Gilbert, has insisted otherwise.
An autopsy report released in February shows Gilbert may have been strangled. Although the autopsy performed by famed forensic pathologist Michael Baden didn't conclude how she died, it did suggest that she had been the victim of some violence prior to her death.
No one has been charged or named as a suspect in any of the killings.
"They say she's at rest now, but she's not" Mari Gilbert said at her daughter's funeral. "She'll never be at rest until I complete the fight and give her justice."
A Facebook page Mari Gilbert started dedicated to finding justice for Shannan Gilbert swelled with support for the mother and her mission Monday.
"Mari Gilbert I will make sure your mission is met. Our hearts are broken. Rest in Peace, my love," one poster wrote.
"I am so shocked and so upset and heartbroken. RIP Mari Gilbert you will be missed. We will continue to show support to all the Victims of the Serial Killer RIP," wrote another.
Mari Gilbert last posted to the group page a week ago.
In January, it was announced that two FBI agents would assist Suffolk County police in the five-year-old case.