Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Long Island Ripper

Amber Lynn Costello


Amber Lynn Costello, 27, was last seen in North Babylon, N.Y., on September 2, 2010. No one even reported her missing before she was found on Gilgo Beach. Her sister, Kimberly Overstreet, 33, of Lindenhurst, N.Y., had helped Costello move into rehab just a year before. Overstreet has said that Costello had been working as a prostitute in St. Petersburg, Fla. She told reporters that she hopes her sister's sad tale will serve as a warning to other women looking for what they think will be easy money in the sex trade.

Amber Lynn Costello
Amber Lynn Costello
Like most of the other identified victims, Costello was petite, just 4'10 and 100 pounds. She grew up near Wilmington, N.C., and may have started into prostitution there. Around 2006 she moved to Pinellas County, Fla. Even during her darkest days there, she was active in her local church, her friends from Dunedin's Lion of Judah Foursquare Church say. Some of them knew that she had been an escort, but they remember her as a kind and loving friend. She sang in the choir, and she helped in the nursery at another church she attended, Clearwater's First Assembly of God. She was trying to find a way out of sex work, and she took a job waiting tables at a diner. But Costello struggled: When police arrested her on suspicion of shoplifting toothpaste and other items from a Publix supermarket in 2009, she told cops she was a librarian.

Between December 2007 and March 2010 she was married to Donald Costello. The address they used in High Point, Fla., matches an address listed in Private Playmates Escort Referrals. Previously, Michael Wilhelm of Kannapolis, N.C., had been married to her for a few years. They'd met in Wilmington, but he says he had left her because of her heroin use.

Amber Lynn Costello was trying to kick a drug habit, and she kept trying to leave a life of prostitution. She didn't do it in time.

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