Nearly a year after 24-year-old Shannan Gilbert’s body was found on the South Shore of Long Island, her mother is suing a physician for wrongful death. Dr. Peter Hackett says he never met the woman, whose disappearance sparked the investigation into a possible serial killer, and previously police have said he isn’t a suspect. However, Mari Gilbert claims that he was one of the last people to see her alive. Shannan, who was a prostitute, fled from a john’s home in Oak Beach in May 2010 and said in a call to police that someone was trying to kill her. An attorney for the Gilbert family says that Dr. Hackett told neighbors that Shannan knocked on his door in a panic. He took her inside, gave her medication, then decided it was “too late to help her,” and released her to a man in an SUV who was looking for her. “Our complaint alleges that he administered the drug, that he had her under his care, that he negligently and deliberately released her from his care, and we also say that he is the cause of her death,” said the attorney.
Mari Gilbert also claims that Dr. Hackett called her the next day and said he’d met Shannan and wanted to treat her at a “halfway house for girls” (which doesn’t exist). The lawsuit doesn’t seek a specific amount in damages, and Gilbert says her main motivation is to get witnesses to testify under oath. “I do believe in my heart that Dr. Hackett played a major role in my daughter’s death,” she says. “It’s time that we stand up for our rights.”