FBI identifies


The Lady of the Dunes, 1974 Provincetown homicide sufferer, recognized as Ruth Marie Terry

The Lady of the Dunes, 1974 Provincetown homicide sufferer, recognized as Ruth Marie Terry


The identification of Massachusetts’ oldest unidentified murder sufferer has been revealed publicly, virtually 50 years after the notorious homicide came about. 

Authorities recognized the sufferer as Ruth Marie Terry, a girl born in Tennessee who was 37 on the time of her demise, throughout a Monday news convention. Federal and state brokers shared updates about their investigation into the girl beforehand known as “Lady of the Dunes” as a result of authorities had been unable to identification her for many years. 

Terry was discovered lifeless on July 26, 1974, within the sand dunes roughly a mile east of the Race Point Ranger station in Cape Cod, in response to police, who estimate that she was killed a number of weeks earlier than the invention. 

A photograph of Ruth Marie Terry subsequent to a composite picture of her. 

FBI / Provincetown

Although officers decided on the time that head trauma had induced Terry’s demise, the notably violent and grisly circumstances of her homicide had prevented them from figuring out her. The killer had eliminated her arms, probably to cover fingerprints and her head was crushed and practically severed from her physique.

Investigators decided that along with Tennessee, Terry had ties to California, Massachusetts and Michigan. She was “a daughter, sister, aunt, wife, and mother,” police mentioned Monday.

FBI officers partnered with the Massachusetts State Police and District Attorney’s Office in addition to Provincetown police to uncover Terry’s identification, which was finally revealed utilizing investigative family tree, the FBI mentioned on Monday. 

Investigative family tree, additionally known as forensic family tree, is a method the place regulation enforcement pulls genetic info from databases to assessment within the context of a legal case. Authorities can use DNA evaluation together with conventional family tree analysis and historic data, or non-public databases, to do that. 

“This is a unique method that can generate new leads for unsolved homicides, as well as help identify unknown victims,” mentioned Joseph Bonavolonta, the particular agent in control of the FBI’s Boston unit, in ready remarks forward of the announcement. “This is, without a doubt, a major break in the investigation that will, hopefully, bring all of us closer to identifying her killer.”

Terry’s relations have been contacted earlier than the FBI introduced her identification on Monday, the company mentioned, noting that her household has requested for privateness at the moment. Investigators additionally famous that, regardless of this new improvement, the case stays unsolved as authorities proceed to seek for Terry’s killer. 

Police have requested the general public to assessment Terry’s case file and share any related suggestions, as they plan to function underneath the belief that the killer remains to be alive, mentioned Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe.

“As investigators, cases like this one haunt us, and the agencies represented here today are constantly re-evaluating and coming up with new investigative strategies to try and advance them,” mentioned Bonavolonta. “We also realize that while we have identified Ruth as the victim of this horrific murder, it does not ease the pain for her family—nothing can—but hopefully it answers some questions while we continue to look for her killer.”

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