District Attorney announces the “Lady of the Dunes” case has officially been closed

PROVINCETOWN – Cape and Islands District Attorney Robert J Galibois announced Monday that the investigation into the death of Ruth Marie Terry, also known as the Lady of the Dunes, has officially been closed.

On July 26, 1974, the body of Ruth Marie Terry was located in the dunes area 1 mile west of Race Point Road in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Ms. Terry died from blunt force trauma to the skull. The case was initially investigated by the Provincetown Police Department and in 1982 the then Chief of Provincetown Police (James J. Meads) requested the case be turned over to the Massachusetts State Police Detectives Unit for the Cape and Islands District. The case has remained under their jurisdiction since pursuant to M.G.L. ch. 38 section 4. The skull was placed in police custody and was never sent to the cemetery for burial with the rest of the remains. Over the years and with the development of technology, portions of the skull had been tested for potential DNA testing. In 2021, a portion of the jaw was tested by Othram, and a DNA profile was finally able to be obtained leading to the identification of the Lady of the Dunes as Ruth Marie Terry. The Chief Medical Examiner’s Office who is responsible for official identification issued the death certificate of Ruth Marie Terry on April 5, 2023.

With Ms. Terry identified, the Massachusetts State Police were able to complete their investigation into the death of Ms. Terry. The Massachusetts State Police learned that Ms. Terry married Guy Muldavin in either 1973 or 1974. They traveled after their wedding, stopping in Tennessee to see Ms. Terry’s family. Through investigative efforts, the 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. 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.

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