Ruth Marie Terry, commonly known as “The Lady of the Dunes,” was murdered, and the case has been adjudicated.
After the Massachusetts State Police had previously identified Guy Rockwell Muldavin as a person of interest in November, the Cape and Islands District Attorney Robert Galibois publicly identified Muldavin as the woman’s murderer on Monday.
Galibois claimed Muldavin, with whom he had recently wed, was the last person to see his wife alive before she was killed in 1974.
“Massachusetts State Police learned that Ms. Terry and Mr. Muldavin traveled during the summer of 1974. When Mr. Muldavin returned from that trip, he was driving what was believed to be Ms. Terry’s vehicle and had indicated to witnesses that Ms. Terry had passed away,” the DA said a press release.
“Ms. Terry was never seen by her family again. Ms. Terry’s brother tried to find his sister with Mr. Muldavin only stating that they had a fight during their honeymoon, and he had not heard from his wife again,” the release continued.
“Based on the investigation into the death of Ms. Terry, it has been determined that Mr. Muldavin was responsible for Ms. Terry’s death in 1974,” the DA concluded, saying the case was closed.
Muldavin died in 2002; according to reports and the DA’s release, he was also the “prime suspect” in the deaths of another wife and stepdaughter in the Seattle, Washington area in 1960.
Though Terry was murdered in 1974, she wasn’t identified until last year.
Who was Ruth Marie Terry?
The Boston Division of the FBI stated in October of last year that Ruth Marie Terry, who had been “the oldest, unidentified victim in Massachusetts” for 48 years, had been located. When she passed away, she would have been 37 years old.
After Terry’s body was found on July 26, 1974, she earned the moniker “Lady of the Dunes” and lived under it for nearly 50 years. Her murder was particularly gruesome since she was struck in the head, almost losing her head to her body. Authorities surmised that the absence of her hands was done to prevent fingerprint identification.
Her body was discovered naked, facedown on a beach blanket, with her head on a pair of folded pants, and no weapon was discovered nearby.
Investigative genealogy was used to determine the identity of Terry, whose remains had been excavated at least three times previously. This strategy, according to the FBI, “combines the use of DNA analysis with traditional genealogy research and historical records to generate investigative leads for unsolved violent crimes.”
The “Lady of the Dunes” mystery was a fairly well-known case that throughout the years sparked a number of conspiracies. Another notion, advanced by Stephen King’s son Joe Hill, was that the murder was committed by mobster Whitey Bulger.
His 2015 blog article proposing that the woman who bears a “startling resemblance” to police sketches might have been an extra in “Jaws” sparked new attention in the notion in 2018 as a result of the “Inside Jaws” podcast.