Killer identified in Massachusetts “Lady of the Dunes” cold case

Killer identified in Massachusetts “Lady of the Dunes” cold case


By WBZ-News Staff

/ CBS Boston

Texas lab pieced together DNA to help identify “Lady of the Dunes”

Texas lab pieced together DNA to help identify “Lady of the Dunes”


The cold case murder of Ruth Marie Terry, also known as the “Lady of the Dunes,” has officially closed with Massachusetts investigators saying her husband, Guy Muldavin, killed her in 1974.

Terry’s body was found in the dunes about one mile west of Race Point Road in Provincetown on July 26, 1974. She had died from blunt force trauma to the skull.

Investigators could not identify Terry until DNA testing was performed in 2021. The violent circumstances of Terry’s murder had prevented authorities from identifying her for years, CBS News previously reported. The killer removed Terry’s hands, possibly to hide fingerprints, and her head was crushed and nearly severed from her body.

Ruth Marie Terry.

FBI Boston

Muldavin died in 2002.

Massachusetts State Police took over the investigation after Terry’s remains were identified.

Detectives learned that Terry and Muldavin were married in either 1973 or 1974 and traveled for their honeymoon in the summer of 1974.

Lady of the Dunes husband
Guy Rockwell Muldavin

Massachusetts State Police

The Cape & Islands District Attorney’s office said Muldavin returned from the trip and was driving Terry’s car. Muldavin told witnesses that Terry had died.

According to Terry’s family, Muldavin only said they had a fight during their honeymoon and he had not heard from her again. Muldavin was also a suspect in the deaths of his previous wife and a stepdaughter in Seattle in 1960.

“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’s office said in a statement on Monday as they announced the case was closed.

Terry, 37 at the time of her death, was born in Tennessee.  Police have said she was “a daughter, sister, aunt, wife, and mother.”

— CBS News contributed to this report.

WBZ-News Staff


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