‘Woman of the Dunes’ case formally closed; husband accountable for brutal homicide, DA says

Native Information

For many years, authorities couldn’t determine the physique of Ruth Marie Terry, who was killed someday in the summertime of 1974.

Greater than 49 years since Ruth Marie Terry’s physique was discovered close to Provincetown, changing into generally known as the “Woman of the Dunes,” authorities have formally closed the investigation into her loss of life.

Pictures of Ruth Marie Terry, the “Woman of the Dunes,” displayed at a press convention within the FBI’s Chelsea workplace in 2022. – Pat Greenhouse/Boston Globe

They decided that her husband, Man Muldavin, was accountable. Muldavin died in 2002, Cape and Islands District Lawyer Robert Galibois mentioned in a press launch Monday.

Terry’s id was not made public till 2021, and for a few years she was the oldest unidentified murder sufferer within the state.

Her physique was discovered on July 26, 1974, about one mile west of Race Level Street. It was decided that she died from a blow to the top, which is estimated to have occurred a number of weeks earlier than her physique was discovered, in keeping with Provincetown officers. Terry’s fingers have been lacking, presumably as an try by her killer to keep away from fingerprint identification. Terry’s head was practically severed from her physique.

The case flummoxed investigators for years. Native police investigated it till 1982, when the case was turned over to state police detectives assigned to the Cape and Islands District. Terry’s cranium was by no means buried along with her physique and remained in police custody. As DNA testing know-how superior, parts of the cranium have been analyzed for potential matches, in keeping with Galibois’s workplace.

The approach generally known as investigative family tree led to a breakthrough in 2021. A portion of Terry’s jaw was examined, and investigators developed a DNA profile that led to her identification.

As soon as police had Terry’s id in hand, they have been in a position to launch a full investigation of her life and the occasions that led to her loss of life. She married Muldavin in both 1973 or 1974. The couple traveled afterward, stopping in Tennessee to see Terry’s household.

They continued touring in the course of the summer season of 1974, in keeping with Galibois’s workplace, and Muldavin was seen driving Terry’s automobile afterward. He advised witnesses that Terry died, and Terry was by no means seen alive once more. At one level, Terry’s brother tried to search out her with Muldavin. Terry’s brother was advised that that they had a battle throughout their honeymoon and that Muldavin had not heard from her.

Man Rockwell Muldavin. Massachusetts State Police

Muldavin was additionally the prime suspect within the disappearances of his ex-wife and stepdaughter within the Seattle space in the course of the ’60’s, in keeping with Galibois’s workplace.

Muldavin was described as a “as soon as rich vintage seller” in an article that appeared within the The Madera Tribune in 1960. Components of the our bodies of his ex-wife and stepdaughter have been reportedly present in a newly-sealed septic tank of their dwelling.

Muldavin, who additionally used the title Raoul Man Rockwell, was needed for questioning in relation to the killing of a bread truck driver and the disappearance of a waitress in 1950 in California, in keeping with a 1960 article that appeared in The Bellingham Herald.

Muldavin died on March 14, 2002, on the age of 78 in Salinas, California, in keeping with an internet obituary. Final November, authorities mentioned that Muldavin was a suspect in Terry’s loss of life and requested for info from the general public.