John Ray, attorney for the family of late New Jersey woman Shannan Gilbert, says homicide detectives have “no evidence” to support their belief that her death resulted from a drug-induced drowning as her family continues to believe she was murdered.
“The police concluded that Shannon had drowned before they had located her remains. They did not know where she was. So the theory was absurd,” Ray said Monday on “Fox & Friends First.”
Some have speculated that Rex Heuermann, the prime suspect in a series of Gilgo Beach murders, could be behind Shannan Gilbert’s death. However, Ray says no connections have been made between the two just yet.
“That doesn’t mean there won’t be, but we don’t say that,” he said later in the segment.
News of Heuermann’s arrest earlier this month brought new attention to the case, prompting the family to question whether Gilbert’s death was accidental.
Ray told hosts Todd Piro and Carley Shimkus that evidence exists showing Gilbert had called 911 and shouted, “They’re trying to kill me” during one of the calls.
“She fled. She was screaming as somebody accosted her outside of the home… where she had been, and she knocked on doors looking for help. There’s not a scintilla of evidence that Shannan Gilbert ever went into the marsh where she is said to have drowned. None whatsoever. And the body where it was found was face up laying with its head on a bush. So it’s impossible for that to have occurred.”
Ray accused police of changing their story to write off her death as a “tragic, unknown accident.”
“These are homicide detectives who say this, who are completely ensconced in evidence, and they have no evidence whatsoever of what they’re claiming. That is unheard of.”
Police went public with three previously withheld 911 calls last year, one in which Gilbert can be heard repeatedly saying, “There’s someone after me.” She placed the call at 4:51 a.m. on May 1, 2010, with little detail to support her exact location aside from at a house in Long Island near Jones Beach.
She asked dispatchers, “Can you trace where I am?” The dispatcher replied that they couldn’t. In the background, a man identified as Joseph Brewer told Gilbert it was “time to go.”
Authorities said she refused to get in the car with Michael Pak, her driver, and fled the scene instead, knocking on doors in the area in hopes of finding help. All the while, she claimed someone was chasing her. At around the 17-minute mark of the 23-minute phone call, she began screaming.
The 24-year-old escort’s disappearance and death brought to light a mystery enshrouding a series of Gilgo Beach murders, though investigators have doubted whether her death resulted from homicide.
Renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden, whose expertise Ray noted to supplement his own on-air Monday, said physical signs from a private autopsy they performed on Gilbert’s body showed that her hyoid bone – a bone in her throat – had been fractured.
“When the hyoid bone is fractured, that means you’ve been strangled,” he explained.
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Fox News’ Michael Ruiz contributed to this report.