Cape Cod’s ‘Lady of the Dunes’ Murder Finally Solved

( – Massachusetts authorities have announced the conclusion of a murder case that has baffled police for decades. The so-called “Lady of the Dunes”, a previously unidentified murder victim, was discovered amongst the sand dunes of Cape Cod by a 12-year-old girl talking a walk along a Provincetown beach in July 1974.

The woman’s skull was smashed and had been almost decapitated from her body. She was naked and her hands had both been cut off, an act which police believe was designed to prevent identification of the body, which at this point was in a late stage of decomposition.

The killer’s efforts to evade detection worked for nearly fifty years. Police tried in vain to identify the victim using clay modelling to recreate her face and by revealing age-regression studies of her face in order to show the public what she may have looked like. Her identity was only confirmed as that of Ruth Marie Terry in 2021 by use of genealogic investigation, in which DNA analysis was used in conjunction with genealogical research and going through historical records.

Ruth Marie Terry married her husband Guy Rockwell Muldavin at the age of 37 in 1974. Shortly after their wedding, the pair took a trip to Tennessee to visit Terry’s family in her home state. Upon returning home, Muldavin was seen to be driving Terry’s vehicle and led witnesses in the case to believe that his wife had died. Terry was not seen alive again.

Muldavin, who died in 2002, is now believed to have killed Terry with a blow to the head before mutilating and dumping her body on the beach. This was not the only violent and grisly crime the man was suspected of being involved in. The antiques dealer was also questioned over the disappearances of a waitress and the killing of a bread truck driver in California, 1950, and later was suspected of killing and dismembering his first wife and stepdaughter in Seattle in the 1960’s. Parts of their bodies were found in the septic tank of their home.

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