PEOPLE editors and true crime experts gathered for the People Magazine Investigates After Show, which aired Monday night, to analyze the series’s two-hour premiere about the Long Island Serial Killer case.
One conclusion from the group was about the “extraordinary” effect Shannan Gilbert had had on what happened. It was her disappearance, and the subsequent search for her, that led authorities to the 10-plus bodies in the Gilgo Beach area on Long Island, New York.
“Shannan Gilbert, whether she was a victim of this killer or not, has really done something extraordinary in our society,” author Robert Kolker said during the after show.
“I don’t think any of us can name one of the victims of Joel Rifkin — or of Jack the Ripper, for that matter,” he said.
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Kolker continued, “And the fact that is, from the Green River Killer to the Southside Slayer in Los Angeles, the victims in these cases are often sex workers and escorts — people who are living unsafe, risky lives but who are overlooked by police and aren’t helped by police.
“And Shannan puts a face on these people.”
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Gilbert’s relatives felt the same: Her mother was featured on Monday night’s premiere episode of People Magazine Investigates. As she told PEOPLE in a recent cover story, “I hope [the case] will bring awareness to any police department anywhere that regardless of who you are and what you do for a living that you are not judged, and that all cases are handled equally.”
People Magazine Investigates airs Mondays (10 p.m. ET) on Investigation Discovery.