Lady of the dunes

Cape Cod's ‘Lady of the Dunes' murder case closed as killer is IDed

"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. Mr. Muldavin passed away in 2002," prosecutors said in a statement

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The "Lady of the Dunes" case, which involved what had been Massachusetts' longest-unidentified homicide victim, has been officially closed after nearly 50 years as investigators declared Monday that she was killed by her husband.

Ruth Marie Terry was identified last year as the murder victim who'd come to be known as "The Lady of the Dunes." The Cape & Islands District Attorney's Office had been investigating, Guy Muldavin, as a person of interest in her killing — her body was found July 26, 1974, in Provincetown's Race Point Dunes.



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"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. Mr. Muldavin passed away in 2002," prosecutors said in a statement.

Terry's killing was gruesome — she died of a crushing blow to the head, was nearly decapitated and her hands were severed; authorities believe she was killed several weeks before her body was found in Provincetown.

Terry's body was identified in October through investigative genealogy, which combines the use of DNA analysis with traditional genealogy research and historical records to generate investigative leads for unsolved violent crimes. The news came as a shock to her biological son, Richard Hanchett, who learned his mother's identity at the same time he learned she was a noted murder victim.

The family of Ruth Terry, a woman found dead almost 50 years ago on Cape Cod and only recently identified, is speaking out about the heartbreaking end to their story.

The case has taken investigators from the dunes of Cape Cod to Tennessee, California and Michigan.

Terry was born in Tennessee in 1936, and the NBC10 Investigators learned she married several times. According to a marriage certificate, she exchanged vows with Muldavin in Reno, Nevada, using a different name six months before her body was found.

Massachusetts State Police eventually officially identified the late Muldavin as a person of interest in the investigation. They gave his name as Guy Rockwell Muldavin, born Oct. 27, 1923, though he also went by Raoul Guy Rockwell and and Guy Muldavin Rockwell; Terry also used aliases.

Muldavin was previously the focus of an investigation into the brutal killing of his ex-wife and stepdaughter in Seattle in 1960, but was never charged with their murders.

News reports from the time show that, after the women went missing, human remains were found in the septic tank of the family’s home. Muldavin was arrested by the FBI and charged with unlawful flight for not giving testimony related to the mutilation of human remains. He was later found guilty of grand larceny but had his sentence suspended after 15 months in jail, according to The Seattle Times.

An obituary shows Muldavin died in California in 2002 at the age of 78.

He wrote a twisted book, "Cooking with Rump Oil," and published it two years after Terry's murder. One of its so-called recipes, titled "Cape Cod Shid," has eerie similarities to the crime. Muldavin drew a creature with long, flowing hair and wrote, in part, "After the Shid is caught anything over five minutes ends it! The sweet turpentine taste will turn to that of a burnt glove and the tender look will become one of despair."

"Cooking with Rump Oil" by Guy Muldavin

Retired FBI profiler Julia Cowley, who worked on the Golden State Killer case, analyzed the book and the supposed recipe.

"What I do wonder -- especially the last line, 'the tender look will become one of despair' -- you have to think that perhaps was the moment he watched the life go out of her eyes and when she realized, 'He's going to kill me.' It's really horrifying," she said.

The NBC10 Boston Investigators look into the disturbing writings of the man suspected in the Lady of the Dunes murder case and whether he may have been a serial killer.
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