Dr. Peter Hackett is regularly put forward as a possible suspect in the Long Island Serial Killer (LISK) case.
The film Lost Girls (2020) also heavily implies that he is the most likely culprit. However, that movie is far removed from reality.
It seems as though certain members of WebSleuths, Reddit, and other true crime communities have narrowed in on Hackett simply because the idea that a doctor committed such crimes from within the confines of a gated neighborhood is far more intriguing than some of the other, more “boring” theories.
Furthermore, it is very easy to look at his behavior and think, “Yeah, this guy is pretty weird.”
Admittedly, he has done himself no favors over the years.
However, being strange or “odd” does not make someone a serial killer.
Hackett wouldn’t be connected to the LISK case even if he were involved in Shannan Gilbert’s death.
Although it remains unclear whether he was directly or indirectly involved in the death of Shannan Gilbert, it seems very unlikely that he had anything to do with the other murders.
The first problem with the “Hackett is LISK” theory is that Gilbert’s death is unrelated to the LISK case.
This wasn’t just the opinion of the Suffolk County Police Department, by the way. Following an independent review of the 911 call and other evidence, both the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit and a psychiatrist arrived at the exact same conclusion.
When you scrape below the surface and dive into the details, it starts to become clear that the connection between Gilbert and the other victims is entirely coincidental.
He is an attention-seeker.
To get a good feel for Hackett, think of that neighbor who always seems to get involved in everyone’s business. Now, picture that one person who likes to tell “big fish tales” and lie about random things.
If you put these two people together, you’ve basically got Dr. Peter Hackett.
Hackett is one of those characters who likes to put themselves at the center of events. Over the years, he has built up a reputation for inserting himself into cases and bigging himself up.
For example, he reportedly embellished his role in the aftermath of the Trans World Airlines Flight 800 disaster by claiming that he had valiantly passed roadblocks against the orders of his superiors. Notably, his neighbors at Oak Beach were completely unsurprised when they learned that he had inserted himself into Gilbert’s disappearance.
To them, this was just something that he did.
Shortly after the incident at Oak Beach, Hackett called Gilbert’s mother, Mari, and reportedly claimed that he had looked after her missing daughter at a home for runaway girls.
This was, of course, just another one of his lies, as no such place ever existed.
It is important to point out that Hackett involved himself in Gilbert’s disappearance long before it became a serial killer investigation. When he first made the calls, it was just a missing person case, as the gruesome find at Gilgo Beach didn’t occur until months later.
Basically, he had no idea that he was about to get himself involved in one of the biggest serial killer cases in New York’s history.
From his perspective, he was sticking his nose into a local disappearance.
The Long Island serial killer (LISK) showed far more sophistication than Hackett.
As is usually the case, the devil is in the details.
Hackett contacted Gilbert’s mother through phone numbers that could be traced back to his house. The Long Island serial killer, on the other hand, was considerably more sophisticated.
When LISK used one of his victims’ phones to taunt her sister, he kept the calls short and made them from crowded areas in Manhattan. He also turned the phone off when he wasn’t using it.
The four women who were found near Gilgo Beach were all contacted with disposable burner phones that had been registered under false names.
Again, this shows that LISK is well aware that calls can easily be traced.
If you compare this to Hackett, who used his wife’s phone to contact Gilbert’s mother, it becomes readily apparent that he lacks the sophistication to be a good LISK suspect.
Furthermore, this is an older man with a prosthetic leg and an implantable defibrillator.
One also has to wonder whether he is even physically capable of murdering women, wrapping their bodies up in burlap, and then carrying them over to the side of Ocean Parkway.
He does not fit the profile of a man who murders sex workers.
Lastly, there seems to be no indication that he had any involvement with the sex industry.
Based on some of the details and what we have learned from similar cases, the Long Island serial killer is almost certainly a regular “john” who has been picking up girls since the 1990s.
This was a man who only killed when the circumstances were right.
LISK knew how to speak to these women. He also knew how they operated.
In other words, he wasn’t someone who was just pretending to be a “john”.
He was one.
This was a “hobby” that would have consumed a considerable portion of his free time.
There are former escorts out there who will recognize his face and possibly even remember his requests for violent sex or other atypical things of that nature. He would have driven by the usual spots where they hung out, talked to them on the street, and picked up many women over the years that he decided not to murder—either because he couldn’t pick them up without being seen or because the timing wasn’t right.
Some of these women might even remember him by whatever name he gave them, as there is a good chance that he was a repeat client.
During the latter half of the 2000s, he would have spent some of his free time pouring over escort ads on Craiglist, even if he knew that his schedule wouldn’t allow him to see any of them.
This was a world that fascinated him and preoccupied his mind.
Despite all of the publicity surrounding Hackett and the movie Lost Girls (2020), nobody has managed to connect him to any sex workers. With LISK, it is likely that there will at least be some kind of hint that he paid for sex in the past. For example, there will be a comment from a family member, friend, coworker, or neighbor. Or he might have a previous arrest for solicitation.
There will be something, even if it is small.
However, with Hackett, there is nothing like that.
They would have pinned it on him.
Last but not least, Dr. Hackett is not some “high-up” individual with powerful connections.
If that were the case, he wouldn’t have been fired by Suffolk County for falsely claiming to be at work when he wasn’t.
Although conspiracy theorists like to insinuate that the SCPD refused to investigate him as a suspect in the LISK case, that is simply untrue.
In reality, both the SCPD and the FBI saw him as little more than an unimportant nuisance.
If there had been any evidence to tie him to the Gilgo Four or any of the other LISK victims, they would have charged him with murder and put the case to rest.