‘Lady of the Dunes’ identified after nearly five decades: FBI

‘Lady of the Dunes’ identified after nearly five decades: FBI

The so-called “Lady of the Dunes,” a murder victim whose mutilated body was found in 1974 on a stretch of beach in Provincetown, Massachusetts, has been identified, officials said Monday.

FBI officer called Massachusetts’ longest unidentified homicide victim as Tennessee native Ruth Marie Terry, closing a key piece of the brutal case that has vexed investigators for nearly five decades.

His body was discovered by a 13-year-old girl on July 26, 1974, about a mile from a National Park service station and bore the signs of a horrific crime. the Boston Globe reported.

Terry’s killer had cut off her hands – probably in an attempt to hide the crime – and tried unsuccessfully to decapitate her.

Her skull was damaged on the left side, probably from the fatal blow to her head, and she had been sexually assaulted with a wooden object, apparently after she had died.

There were no signs of a struggle near the body or on it, leading investigators to assume that she probably knew her assailant and that the murder itself may have taken place elsewhere.

Lady of the Dunes
The victim’s body was found by a teenage girl and was horribly mutilated.
The murder has vexed federal and local investigators for 48 years.

Terry was 37 when she disappeared and would have been 86 today. It is not clear why he was in Provincetown at the time of his killing.

No arrests have been made in the case.

On Monday, District Attorney Michael O’Keefe said it is possible that his assailant is dead, but investigators are still trying to identify the killer.

Terry was found dead in the dunes on July 26, 1974.
Terry was found dead in the dunes on July 26, 1974.
Provincetown Police Department

“This is without a doubt a major breakthrough in the investigation that will hopefully bring us all closer to identifying her killer,” said Joe Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Division of the FBI.

With Post wires

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