Netflix’s new movie Lost Girls is based on a chilling true story about a serial killer in Long Island and the mother who advocated for her missing daughter. Shannan Gilbert went missing after a terrifying 911 call in May 2010. In 2011, her body was found. Her mother, Mari Gilbert, never stopped fighting for answers. But tragically, Mari was found stabbed to death in 2016 at her youngest daughter Sarra’s apartment. Sarra was ultimately convicted of murder and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. The photo above is from Netflix’s Lost Girls.
Mari Gilbert’s Daughter Sarra Was Found Guilty of Murder & Sentenced to 25 Years to Life
In 2016, Mari Gilbert was found dead in her daughter Sarra Gilbert’s apartment in Ellenville, CBS New York reported at the time. Mari and Sarra lived on the same street, but in different apartments.
Attorney John Ray told CBS that Sarra invited Mari to her home and “in the living room, she was knifed to death.” During the trial, the jury learned that she stabbed her mom more than 200 times, beat her with a fire extinguisher, and then sprayed her with foam from that same fire extinguisher.
In 2017, Sarra was convicted of second-degree murder, Daily Freeman reported. She was sentenced to 25 years to life, Daily Freeman reported. This was the maximum sentence that she could be given. Jurors did not believe that she lacked the mental capacity to stand trial or to know what she was doing. One juror said to Daily Freeman: “We feel that she has mental illness but she was also aware of what she was doing.”
Sarra Gilbert is still in prison today and does not have a release date. At the time of her sentencing, the judge said he wanted to make sure Sarra never was released from prison, In Touch Weekly reported.
Sarra had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and had several violent episodes prior to her mom’s murder. The prosecution argued that Sarrah killed her mother out of anger because Mari had Sarrah arrested after Sarrah drowned the puppy. Mari also may have had temporary custody of Sarrah’s son, Daily Freeman reported. At the time of the drowning, Sarra had been arrested and was charged with animal cruelty and endangering a child, PIX 11 reported. That May, she was arrested another time for violating an order of protection that her boyfriend had. All of that led up to the day her mother was found murdered.
Today, Sarra’s sister Shannan’s death remains unsolved.
In 2016, a private, independent autopsy reported that Shannan might have been murdered, which contradicted with local police thinking she had drowned, The New York Times reported. Dr. Michael M. Baden, who conducted the private autopsy, said the cause of death could not be determined. However, he also said that the autopsy showed some findings that were consistent with strangulation. He said other things could also have caused her death, but homicide could not be ruled out. The larynx was missing and a hyoid bone was missing “horns,” which might happen in the case of strangulation, he noted.
In January 2020, police changed Shannan’s cause of death to inconclusive rather than accidental, Daily Freeman reported. Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said investigators were “not necessarily certain” if Shannan was killed.