Man who found remains in Manorville: ‘I knew it was a skull’

Gilgo Beach murders
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | The spot in the Manorville woods where Matt Samuel found human remains Friday.

Skeletal remains believed to be from a human were discovered by a man walking with his dog in Manorville Friday evening, Suffolk Police said.

The remains were found at about 3:30 p.m. in a wooded area off about 100 feet north of North Road, less than a mile west of Wading River Road. The site was not far from where the dismembered bodies of two women were found in 2000 and 2003.

The newly discovered remains, of which age and gender have not been determined, were surrounded by debris and vegetation, police said. Based on vegetation growth, the remains have likely been in the densely wooded area for about five years, police said.

Matt Samuel, 30, who discovered the body, said he was looking for shed deer antlers with his 13-year-old German short-haired pointer Molly in the woods yesterday when he decided to take a shortcut back home. The two were cutting through the woods when they both noticed something sticking out of the ground just off a trail near the road.

“I thought it was a rock at first, but it was kind of weird,” Mr. Samuel said. “Then I looked a little closer and saw where the plates fuse together so I knew it was a skull. It didn’t look like any animal skull I’d ever seen.”

Mr. Samuel, who lives about 400 yards from where the body was found, went home and called his brother, a police officer with the Village of Freeport, to take a look at what he found.

The remains, Mr. Samuel said, appeared to be wrapped in a bed sheet, wrapped in a plastic garbage bag, and tied with duct tape. Weeds and leaves had buried most of the remains.

“It looked pretty bush league, how they did it,” Mr. Samuel said. Police couldn’t confirm if the body had been wrapped or tied with duct tape.

The torso discovered in Manorville in 2003 belonged to Jessica Taylor, whose head, hands and feet were discovered last March near Gilgo Beach. The body parts found in 2000, belonging to an unidentified victim, also connect with remains found near Gilgo Beach.

At least two other male bodies have been found in Manorville in the past dozen years, but they have not been connected to the Gilgo case. Police said it is not yet clear if the remains discovered this week are related to the Gilgo Beach incidents.

Mr. Samuel said he has found dead pets dumped by their owners in the area because the road is so secluded. But he’s never found human remains before.

“If you’re going to get rid of your dirty laundry around here, this is the place you’re going to do it,” he said.