Prostitutes still walk the streets of Atlantic City, and some ply their trade in the strip of seedy motels just outside the city limits where the barefoot bodies of four of their colleagues were unceremoniously dumped four years ago.
And prosecutors who once took a DNA sample from a man suspected of being the killer wrote to his lawyer earlier this month - to ask someone to come claim the two junker vehicles detectives seized from him in 2007.
The case drew worldwide attention for a while - stories on the killings appeared as far away as India, New Zealand and Malta - and authorities speculated they had a serial killer on their hands. But no other streetwalkers were killed, the trail has gone cold, and the killings remain unsolved.
"They're grasping for straws, and there's nothing out there," said Hugh Auslander, whose ex-wife, Kim Raffo, was one of the victims.
He said he has not had any contact with investigators in over a year.
"Absolutely nothing at all, not even a phone call," he said.
The Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office said in a statement Thursday that the case remains open and active, with federal and state authorities assisting.
On Nov. 20, 2006, a passerby found the bodies behind the motels known for drugs and prostitution on a road called the Black Horse Pike.
Raffo, 35, was a Brooklyn native who lived in Florida before coming to Atlantic City. Tracy Ann Roberts, 23, of Philadelphia, was a former exotic dancer forced to the streets after drugs wrecked her looks.
Barbara V. Breidor, 42, of Ventnor, helped run her parents' business before developing a drug problem, and Molly Jean Dilts, a chubby-cheeked 20-year-old from Blairsville, Pa., had only been working the streets for a short time before she disappeared.
They were barefoot, with their heads facing east, toward the casinos in Atlantic City, whose border was just a few hundred yards away.
Roberts was asphyxiated and Raffo was strangled with a rope or cord. Autopsies could not determine the cause of death for the other two because they had been in the ditch for so long, but their deaths are being investigated as homicides.
The bodies were placed in the ditch at different times over the course of a month, according to autopsy reports.
In a 2008 interview with The Associated Press, Atlantic County Prosecutor Ted Housel came as close as any law enforcement official has yet come to definitively saying the deaths are the work of a serial killer.
"They were four young ladies in close proximity to each other," he said at the time. "You can infer something from that. The idea that there might be four people who had done the exact same thing is not logical."
Clinton Van Zandt, a former profiler with the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit who now runs his own security consulting firm in Virginia, says the killer most likely either died or was sent to prison shortly after the bodies were found.
"Usually when you have a serial killer, you don't see him stop of his own volition," he said.
He said the fact that four years have passed does not mean all is lost.
"Cold cases can and do get solved," Van Zandt said. "I would never close the book on this case. Sometimes you get a deathbed confession or a guy tells a cellmate something and the cellmate wants to play 'Let's Make A Deal.' "
Auslander, Raffo's ex-husband, said he's been doing his own research, looking for reports of similar crimes elsewhere in the country, but has come up empty.
The only person known to have submitted a DNA sample in the case, Salem County handyman Terry Oleson, was questioned repeatedly but never charged in the case. He is currently in jail for violating probation in an unrelated invasion of privacy case in which he videotaped his former girlfriend's daughter in various states of undress.
Oleson had been staying in the Golden Key Motel just before the bodies were found behind it. He is due to be released from jail on Friday, according to his lawyer, James Leonard Jr.
The Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office wrote to Leonard about two weeks ago, raising his hopes that a long-sought statement clearing Oleson's name might be in the offing. But the letter was just a request that someone come and retrieve an old Thunderbird and a pickup truck investigators seized from Oleson in 2007.
The prosecutor's office has said it cannot issue a statement clearing anyone because it never publicly identified anyone as a suspect.
As far as authorities' interest in Oleson for the hooker deaths, "I think that's a closed book," Leonard said. "I've heard nothing about that case, nothing at all regarding him."
On the streets along the casinos, the sex trade continues apace. One streetwalker who would not give her name has been a regular fixture on a particular corner on Pacific Avenue for at least the past four years.
"I think about those girls every day of my life," she said this week. Then she ran across the street to flag down passing cars driven by men, looking for a customer.