On this cold, wind-whipped, rainy spring day, I can tell you one thing about this place: The barrier islands, facing the Atlantic on one side and Great South Bay to the north, are inhospitable and uninviting. But it's the best time of year for investigators searching for more victims.
That's because the twisted, prickly, thorny brush - beautiful in its own way - is beginning to bud. And that's bad if you're trying to find clues in a possible killing spree. Once everything blooms, police say it will be next to impossible to get in the scrub and hack away to find anything.
Even search dogs trained to handle difficult situations are balking.
A few feet into the brush from a beachside road, things can be easily lost or hidden. You could see how anyone, even an alleged killer, might choose to use the area as a dumping ground.
Police have identified the remains of Melissa Barthelemy, 24, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 25, Amber Lynn Costello, 27, and Megan Waterman, 22 near Oak Beach, New York, in recent weeks. Their efforts are part of a probe into suspected serial killings that have turned up at least eight bodies - four of them identified as prostitutes - since December 2010. The grisly finds occurred as police searched for Shannan Gilbert, 24, who was last seen alive in May in the Gilgo Beach area.
Detectives and divers are taking a short break this weekend but will resume their work next week. Theyâ€™ll be back in the water looking for clues. The FBI expects to put a helicopter back in the air for more high-tech aerial imagery.
Around here, residents are watching and waiting to see what happens next. Rumors are rampant about who might be involved, with some speculating that a member of the community might be invoved. Some people are frightened; others aren't.
Among those taking extra precautions are prostitutes.
Four of the eight victims identified so far were women who advertised their services on Craigslist. I talked with some women who continue to work this area of Long Island. Some are now carrying weapons. Mainly, they're trying to to take a friend along to make sure when they meet with a client, they leave the client.
One shrugged off any risk. "Hey, we know what we're doing when we take this job."
Why is the case grabbing so much attention as far away as Germany? Maybe it's because of the taint. Human remains are being recovered from a long stretch of beach brush in a place where people like to live and vacation.
"Itâ€™s just a beautiful place," one detective told me. "This area seems damaged right now because of the bodies that have turned up."
Who are the other victims who have yet to be identified? Are they connected to the first four?
This week, Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer cautioned against expecting any quick answers.
"Please keep in mind this isnâ€™t an episode of CSI."
Watch CNN Newsroom weekdays 9am to 3pm ET and weekends. For the latest from the CNN Newsroom click here.